I first sampled this delicious dessert at the Sichuan Garden Restaurant in Hong Kong. It is suffused with the tastes, fragrances, textures and colours popular in Southeast Asia. While in the West we tend to prefer the firm white flesh of mature coconuts, in Southeast Asia the slightly green or immature coconut is preferred. The flesh is quite soft, like a jelly, and can be scooped out with a spoon or one’s fingers. The liquid from such coconuts is also rather sweet. Mature coconuts are sweet too, especially when combined with milk and melon. The tapioca adds body to the soup, and the result is an unusually refreshing dessert, perfect after any meal.
Combine the tapioca and water in a small bowl and leave to stand for 45 minutes.
Cut the honeydew melon into quarters, remove the seeds and cut off the peel. Cut the melon into large pieces. Purée the flesh in a blender to a thick liquid consistency. Pour into a medium-sized bowl and chill.
Place the coconut milk in a pan, add the sugar and tapioca and simmer for 5 minutes or until it thickens. Allow it to cool, then chill.
When you are ready to serve the soup, pour the two separate mixtures into a large serving bowl, stir well and serve.
© 1995 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.