A bowl of pudding with a slice of pumpkin in it.

Tapioca Pudding with Pan-Fried Kabocha

This is for all the tapioca lovers out there.

I was craving some sweets one night and ate up all my ice cream.

Talk about emergencies.

Tapioca Pudding with Pan-Fried Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) | www.alldayieat.com

Since I had no ice cream, I quickly looked in my fridge and freezer for alternatives. None.

It was already late and thought I probably have to make something or go to sleep.

Since I wasn’t sleepy yet I went online and did a search. I found out that I had ingredients for this promising dessert. Plus it was simple.

It turned out to be a very good version of tapioca pudding with coconut milk.

If you don’t have kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), fear not. You could probably use butternut squash, but it might have a lighter flavor.

But, if you don’t have that, I would suggest waiting until you have one of the two. You won’t want to leave it out!


Adding the kabocha to the tapioca milk mixture.


In summary, I usually make this with taro and thought it would be a good time to try something new.

Kabocha is an suitable replacement for taro. It’s delicate flavor synergizes with the coconut milk, resulting in a sweet and delicate flavor.

You will also be able to enjoy a soft, natural orange color from the kabocha. Natural food coloring is the best!

This is a great way to finish off a meal on a cool winter night.


For those keen on getting started cooking Japanese food, I’ve put together a quick reference on Japanese Food Supplies that can help get you started! Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet!


Tapioca Pudding with Kabocha

A bowl of pudding with a slice of pumpkin in it.

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  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar (- 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup small pearl tapioca (not quick cook)
  • 14 ounces coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 cup kabocha pumpkin (roughly cut into 1/4″ cubes + 48 kabocha slices ~ 1/4″ thick)


  1. Using a medium pot on medium heat, combine the milk and sugar and mix occasionally until dissolved.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the tapioca and stir constantly 3-4 minutes (prevents clumping). Then add coconut milk and cover. Simmer on low for at least 60 minutes or until tapioca is cooked through. (the tapioca is done when it is completely translucent)
  3. Meanwhile, prepare kabocha. Cut about 1 cups worth of kabocha into 1/4″ cubes. Also, cut 4-8 kabocha slices ~ 1/4″ thick and set aside.
  4. Take the kabocha cubes and steam at least 10 minutes or until soft. Once steamed, use a fork to mash it.
  5. While the kabocha cubes are steaming, take the kabocha slices and pan fry using olive oil until slightly browned on each side. (salt optional) Set aside.
  6. When the tapioca is done, stir in the mashed pumpkin. and garnish with pan fried kabocha slices.

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2 thoughts on “Tapioca Pudding with Pan-Fried Kabocha”

  1. I love kabocha – didn’t know how good it was until I grew some in my garden last summer!! This dessert sounds delicious!

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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

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