Saffron Tapioca Pudding

If you have never made tapioca pudding before, it can be hard to tell when it is done. You will be waiting for it to seem like more tapioca than milk (you will be waiting a while). It won't get that way. Once it is thick and the tapioca pearls are clear, take it off the stove and let it thicken some more. 

makes ~3.5 cups


1 cup tapioca pearls

6 cups of milk

generous pinch of saffron threads

½ tsp ground cardamom*

1 ½ cups of sugar

2 Tbsp pistachios

1 cup of chopped fruit - mangoes, berries or figs  


  1. Soak the tapioca in hot water for 2-3 hours or overnight. Then drain & set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottom stockpot, cook the milk with saffron threads until reduced by two thirds stirring frequently.  
  3. Add the tapioca and cook on medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add the sugar and cardamom and continue to cook until the tapioca pearls are translucent and cooked through. Remove from heat and let it cool. Stir it occasionally to prevent a scum on top of the pudding. 
  5. Serve warm or cold with chopped pistachios and fresh fruit on top.


* Be sure to sprinkle the cardamom on top, rather than dump with the sugar which sinks to the bottom. This will prevent the cardamom from clumping. 

ideas / variations