Recipe by: Linda Le

Source: Family recipe

Serves: 6 – 8


Note: This is a popular and simple Vietnamese dessert commonly found at street vendors in Vietnam. If served warm in cooler months it is like custard. If served chilled in warmer months, it is like a thick pudding.


  • 1 cup tapioca or sago pearls
  • 6 cups water
  • 800ml coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup white sugar (if you like sweeter, add more sugar to taste)
  • 2 drops vanilla essence
  • 6 ripe lady finger bananas sliced (3-4 normal ripe bananas can be substituted)
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar


  • The night before: (or at least an hour prior to cooking) soak the tapioca/sago pearls in cold water. This reduces cooking time
  • Drain well and place into a saucepan with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot
  • Cook until the pearls look transparent, bouncy and doubled in size.
  • Drain and set aside (be careful not to overcook)
  • In another saucepan combine the coconut milk, water, salt, vanilla essence and sugar on a low heat. Stir consistently until the sugar dissolves
  • Add bananas to the saucepan for 5 minutes (stir sparingly so the bananas don’t become mushy) then gently stir in the tapioca pearls to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes and set aside to cool
  • In a small bowl add the sesame seeds with the ½ tsp of salt and sugar each
  • Place tapioca into small serving bowls, sprinkle the sesame seed mixture on top and enjoy!

Tip: Some Vietnamese desserts have a very fine balance between sweet and slightly salty hence the salt in the cooking and topping. You can add roasted peanuts on top along with the sesame seeds. Other toppings include ripe mango or pineapple. I like the simplicity of the dessert with just banana.

Download PDF version here: che-chuoi-vietnamese-tapioca-sago-pudding-with-banana-linda-le