Pumpkin Tapioca Dessert

This is a favorite dessert for Cambodians in the Fall season. Kids can’t get enough of the tapioca pearls in this healthy treat!

In less than 30 minutes, you can have this warm, creamy & nutty dessert ready!

Bawbaw Ktis Lapov – pumpkin in creamy and sweet coconut sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cambodian
Keyword: Pumpkin, Purple Yam, Sweet Corn
Servings: 8
Author: Channy Laux



  • Preparing Tapioca Rinse tapioca in cold water, strain and set aside.
  • Preparing the Pumpkin Remove any scars on the rind, cut it into half, de-seed, and cut into small triangle pieces (about 1" each side). A triangle shape will allow for more pumpkin to dissolve into the sauce when cooking.
  • Cooking the Pumpkin Place the pumpkin pieces into a small pot, add water and salt. Bring it to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Do not cover the pot. This way the green rind will not turn brownish. Continue simmering for about 8 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked and tender.
  • Adding Tapioca Using a fork, softly loosen the tapioca, then add to the pot. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes. At this point the tapioca will not become completely translucent.
  • Finishing Steps Add Sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reserve some coconut cream for garnish. Add the rest of coconut cream to the pot, stir and turn off heat. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. This last step will allow the tapioca to completely cook and the sauce is thicken.
  • Serving Serve hot, warm or cold. Top with coconut cream, or fresh jasmine flowers  


Picking the Pumpkin be sure to select only kabocha pumpkin. This pumpkin is much more sweeter than most, with skin that is soft edible after cooked.  The deep green skin packs with wonderful nutty flavor to the dessert. Average kabocha pumpkin weighs around 3 pounds.  It is better to get a 3 pound pumpkin and use only half for this recipe, than trying to find a 1.5 pounds pumpkin.  This way you have a better quality pumpkin to start with.      
* Options This dessert is also good with purple yam, or sweet corn (thinly sliced).  Stay tuned for these variations recipe.  
* Substitutions:
  • Substitute Thnot Sugar with granulated sugar 
Checkout our Taro Tapioca Dessert for a variation of this recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @AngkorFood or tag #angkorfood, thank you!

Published by Channy Laux

Channy Laux is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. She was thirteen-years-old when the Khmer Rouge took over the country in 1975. From 1975 to 1979, Channy endured starvation, horrendous working conditions, sickness and repeated separations from her family. In June of 1979, Channy arrived in Lincoln Nebraska as a refugee. After four years of no school and not knowing a word of English, she attended Lincoln High School; earned a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from Santa Clara University and undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Channy worked in Silicon Valley as an engineer in the Aerospace and Biotech industries for 30 years. In 2017 Channy decided to focus on completing a promise that she made to herself as she and her family struggled to survive the Cambodian genocide. “If I ever make it out alive, I will make sure the world knows what happened to us.” Channy published her memoir “Short Hair Detention”, which receives multiple awards, including Nebraska’s 2018 Book Award. Channy is also founder of Angkor Cambodian Food. Her goal is to bring Cambodian cuisine into American kitchens, by providing authentic and hard to find ingredients along with easy to follow recipes. One of her creations Kroeurng (Lemongrass cooking paste) receives sofiTM Award from Specialty Foods and Innovation Foodservice Award from IFMA. Channy now balances her time between her business and educating communities on the Cambodian Genocide. She works with schools and other organizations to promote awareness of Cambodian Genocide. She is a member of Speakers Bureau for JFCS Holocaust Center.

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