The spice blend of chai (cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom) in this rich and addictive tapioca custard will transport you to India with every mouthful. These puddings make the perfect finish to a curry feast.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (49 votes)


  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon, plus ¼ tsp extra to sprinkle
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 70 g (⅓ cup) pearl tapioca
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2½ tbsp honey

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time 5 minutes

Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Place six 125 ml (½ cup) ramekins or individual ovenproof dishes in a roasting pan or large ovenproof dish.

Combine the milk, cream and spices in a medium saucepan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Use a balloon whisk to stir in the tapioca. Simmer gently over low heat, stirring often, for 12-15 minutes or until the tapioca has plumped but still has a slightly opaque centre. Remove from heat and use a fork to remove the whole spices.

Use a balloon whisk to whisk together the egg yolks and honey until well combined. Gradually stir in the tapioca mixture until well combined. Transfer mixture to a jug and then pour into the ramekins, dividing evenly. Sprinkle the tops of the puddings with the extra cinnamon.

Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to reach half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the puddings are firm around the outside but still soft in the centre when you touch the tops of them. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and stand for 5 minutes before serving warm, at room temperature or chilled.


Baker’s tip

• These puddings will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Kerrie Ray. Creative concept by Lou Fay.


For more recipes, view our online column, Bakeproof: Comforting custard.