- 3 cups water
- 4 tablespoons small uncooked tapioca pearls
- 1 pound (about 8) small ("baby" or "finger") bananas, ripe but firm, peeled (may substitute regular bananas if unavailable)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (about half a can)
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Garnish: toasted white sesame seeds
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (not traditional but a nice touch)
- Substitute chunks of fresh mango for the banana, after soup is fully cooked.
- Substitute chunks of cooked sweet potato or taro for the banana. This combination is known as bo bo cha cha and is served in Singapore and Malaysia.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add tapioca pearls, and stir frequently to prevent them from sticking. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the the tapioca pearls are almost clear.
- Cut peeled bananas on the diagonal into 3/4-inch thick discs.
- Once the tapioca is cooked, add in the coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture back to a boil.
- Add banana pieces to the soup and simmer over low heat for two minutes.
- Remove soup from heat and add vanilla, if desired.
- May be served warm or cold.
- If serving cold, allow soup to cool, then cover tightly and refrigerate for a few hours until cold.
- Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish each with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.