— lab@56

No.21: Green Tea Tapioca Pudding

Green Tea Tapioca Pudding

I came to really appreciate the green tea when I moved to New York, about 17 years ago. Drinking a hot cup of green tea meant nothing to me growing up as it was always there, and it’s sad for me to admit that as I’m Japanese. My grandfather used to serve me a hot cup of tea with Japanese sweets that were pretty intricate while he was kneading the soba noodle dough. It came with the warning – not to touch the dough until ready. I used to ignore his words and poke the soft yet neatly rounded dough while he was not looking. And I loved it. Then 3 o’clock tea time with my grandmother, with my favorite Japanese sponge cake, Kasutera (or Castella). Some times, you have to be far away (physically) to realize what’s important and appreciate what you grew up with; the green tea for me happens to be one of them.

My habit of having green tea has gotten worse (in a good way) in recent years. I have a shelf in my small kitchen dedicated to teas. It’s not uncommon I show up with my own Bubba Keg that has cold green tea inside or have a stash of green tea bags in my lunch bag. People think it’s a gigantic keg of coffee I walk around with, and it’s been really interesting to hear what people say about my keg. Mad Scientist got himself into drinking more green tea past couple of years. He carries his favorite packets of blueberry green tea powder as a coffee replacement. Warning, I think this habit spreads.

It’s really not common to put sugar in green tea in Japan especially when drinking. There are a lot of Japanese desserts that contain green tea (liquid or powder) today while Matcha (fine Japanese green tea powder), which was used in the recipe below and other green tea sweets, is traditionally for a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

I don’t need a reason to have sweets, but if I can pick one… we celebrate 3 month anniversary of this site. (Yay!) So sharing  one of my favorite desserts from a different culture, tapioca pudding, today with my love of Japanese green tea.

Green Tea Tapioca Pudding

Green Tea Tapioca Pudding that tastes just like Matcha Latte.

  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup small pearl tapioca - do not use instant tapioca
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine milk and cream in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and bring to simmer. Add green tea and cocoa powder; whisk until combined. Add tapioca; stir occasionally and simmer until they are tender, 15-20 minutes. Reduce the heat if necessary if it's boiling. There should not be any white part in tapioca pearls.

Place egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and whisk until creamy.

Add 2 tablespoon of milk & tapioca mixture to egg yolk mixture and whisk to loosen, then whisk in yolk mixture to the sauce pan on the stove. Once they are well combined, simmer over medium-low heat and stir the mixture constantly with spatula until it is thick enough to coat the back of spatula.

Serve warm. Or cool the pudding at the room temperature and refrigerate it in a container when serving cold.

Side Notes:

Matcha green tea powder can be hard to find and expensive, but it can be substituted with regular green tea powder. Or serve it as regular tapioca pudding.

Adapted from Chow.com


  1. MadSCAR says: April 13, 20133:48 am

    Love it! Thanks for recipe 🙂

    • keig says: April 14, 20137:16 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  2. Katy Jorgensen says: April 14, 20135:09 pm

    I’ve tried matcha in the past but found it really bitter, until I found Jade Monk flavored matcha. I drink them exclusively now (plus, it’s really affordable). I wonder if I can use one of them in your recipe. I’ll let you know…. Thanks for the great post.

    • keig says: April 14, 20137:16 pm

      Hi Katy – I grew up with the flavor of tea bitterness (and don’t put sugar in none of my teas), but I asked people who taste tested and didn’t find it bitter as there are sugar in it. I just went to your site & checked out, and I think Chai Spice one may go. I’d leave the cocoa powder though. Let me know how it goes if you try it. 🙂

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