Tapioca Pearls with Jaggery Caramel

By Published On: 9 Feb '21Last Updated: 25 Nov '21

Tapioca Pearls with Jaggery Caramel is a lovey-dovey dessert, fit for any occasion including Valentine's Day. It looks stunning and tastes totally delicious!!

Happy Valentine’s Day from us to you.

Love is in the air and it is Valentine’s Day. Is Valentine’s Day connected to food?

I believe food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate. Food is an important part of Valentine’s Day along with gifts, cards, roses and candies. This is the day, couples make a special attempt to make a reservation for lunch or dinner and confess their love to each other and perhaps also share their first kiss!

When it comes to holidays like Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving, they all have some sort of cultural and religious significance behind them and as it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I have shared some valuable insight into the significance of Valentine’s Day. Check out my blog on Valentine’s Day. Regardless of cultural and religious significance, food is an important part of any celebration globally. It brings people together and helps maintain a common identity among people.

There was no concept of Valentine’s Day when I grew up. It was a revelation to me when I arrived in Australia, that there was a day dedicated to love and romance. It was perfect for me because I was single then and it felt very special to be receiving flowers and gifts from my fiance (now husband). It was really wonderful because on my first Valentine’s Day I received a massive flower bouquet and it felt truly special! Did it continue? My word it did! I am made to feel special on all the special days in my calendar by my beloved hubby.

My mother used to make tapioca pearls (sago) pudding or payasam (vorn) many times during the year. I have loved tapioca pearls since childhood and was always keen to prepare a dessert with these glorious glutenous pearls. This Valentine’s Day has tempted me to come up with my first ever dessert recipe for my website. I am not much of a dessert person but I love certain Indian desserts and also many other Australian desserts. This dessert has been in the making for quite sometime and I am really pleased, at last it is ready to be published. Hope you enjoy it!

If you do try this recipe, please make sure to post on my Facebook Deliciously Indian along with a link or if it’s Instagram, drop a story and tag us on #deliciouslyindian. We would love to hear from you.

Tapioca Pearls with Jaggery Caramel

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
This lovey-dovey dessert looks and tastes rich, but it starts with tapioca pearls, jaggery and cardamom infused coconut milk then turns classic when it is dressed up with a dash of jaggery caramel into the tapioca mixture. It tastes best when it is made and served on the same day.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people


For the Tapioca Pearls

  • 4 litres cold water
  • 175 g tapioca pearls
  • 85 g light jaggery powder or palm sugar
  • 400 mL coconut milk
  • ½ -¾ tsp. freshly ground green cardamom powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt or to taste

For the Jaggery Caramel

  • 170 g light jaggery powder or palm sugar
  • 160 mL cold water
  • 75 mL freshly squeezed lime juice


Method for tapioca pearls

  • Chill 4-6 medium glasses in the refrigerator.
  • In a large deep saucepan, bring water to a rolling boil. Add tapioca pearls gradually and stir as you add the tapioca pearls until the liquid returns to the boil. Cook for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and stand for 10 minutes or until the pearls look translucent.
  • Drain well through a fine sieve. Rinse under cold water to remove starch. Stir the pearls and while stirring continue to rinse even if it seems very starchy, as the starch will wash away, and the pearls will begin to appear. This will take approximately 2-3 minutes. Drain the rinsed pearls well, pour into a deep bowl and set aside for 5 minutes only.
  • Meanwhile, combine 85g jaggery, 200mL coconut milk, cardamom powder and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil stirring to combine the ingredients. Remove from heat and cool. You may pass this mixture through a fine sieve, but I did not sieve this mixture. Add cooled tapioca pearls and the remaining 200mL coconut milk. Mix throughly to seperate all the pearls. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Method for Jaggery Caramel

  • Combine jaggery with 160mL water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir till jaggery is dissolved. Continue to cook for 12-14 minutes or until the liquid turns into a slight syrup. Add lime juice and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Cool and refrigerate until required.

For serving

  • Divide the tapioca pearls among chilled glasses and drizzle over jaggery caramel. Serve immediately.


  1. Powder the cardamom to a very fine powder.
  2. You may use dark jaggery if you prefer a dark caramel.
  3. Tapioca pearls are best served on the day you prepare them as they can get into lumps if left for too long in the refrigerator.  
  4. You may serve with fruits such as nectarines, peaches or very sweet mangoes. If you do so, toss the fruit in a little jaggery caramel. Place the fruit on top of the tapioca pearls just before serving and finally drizzle over some extra caramel. In the image in the bottom right, I have used mango custard on the bottom and as a garnish on the top of the tall glass.
Keyword Dessert, sago pudding, Tapioca Pearls
Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

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