One of my favorite Cantonese desserts - mango, pomelo, and tapioca "soup" (楊枝甘露)
Most of my friends would agree that NYC is severely behind the West Coast in terms of its share of good authentic Chinese restaurants. There's nothing wrong with it -- there are simply more Asian immigrants on the West Coast. But one very obvious missing piece in NYC (well, let's mainly focus on Manhattan) is Hong Kong-nese dessert shops (糖水!). There used to be a Sweet and Tart on Mott St., but it closed a long time ago. There are several tea houses that serve Taiwanese bubble teas. But there aren't any places that serve the good old fashioned walnut soup, sesame soup, snow wood-ear soup with lotus seeds, etc. (Anyone please correct me if I am wrong. I would love to be corrected in this case!) And one of the newer desserts coming out of Hong Kong in the last decade (according to my friend Erica) is a soup made with mango, pomelo, tapioca, and milk/cream/coconut milk. This dessert is a perfect blend of sweet, tart, tanginess, and a mixture of tropical flavors. Since I couldn't buy it in NYC, I figured that I would just make it myself. Mangoes are in season now so this is a great time to make this dessert. Half of the mangoes should be pureed, which makes the soup nice and thick. Normally pomelo is used. It is very similar to grapefruit, but its pulp is a lot sturdier and breaks apart more cleanly. I didn't want to venture beyond my local bodega to get all the ingredients so I just substituted it with a red grapefruit. The rest is quite easy -- just mix the mango puree, mango chunks, grapefruit pulp pieces, coconut milk, and milk together. I save the tapioca in a separate container, otherwise it would suck up too much liquid if left mixed with the rest. When you're ready to eat, just spoon some tapioca and simple syrup into the soup mixture. It's a healthy and yummy Asian dessert that doesn't involve beans!
2 ripe mangoes. Flesh removed. Half pureed, half cut into chunks
1 red grapefruit. All fibrous membrane removed. Pulp broken into thin clusters
1/2 to 1 cup coconut milk
2 cups milk
simple syrup (1 cup water with 1 cup sugar. heat until sugar dissolves. let cool)
50g tapioca. simmered in boiling water for 10 min. Then covered with no flame for another 20 min. Drain and mix with some syrup.
(adapted from an original recipe here)