Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Haupia (Hawaiian Coconut Pudding)

Haupia is a traditional Hawaiian Lu'au desert made with coconut milk and arrowroot starch. When heated together, the ingredients take on a gelatinous texture, and when cooled, the result can be cut into cubes for serving. Top with fresh fruit and sorbet and you have quite a nice dessert for dinner party guests!

After Dinner Notes: I was excited to try this recipe. I love coconut and I thought coconut with raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries would be a perfect after dinner treat for my family's recent lobster dinner get together. I prepared the Haupia around 4:30pm and put it in the fridge to set. I was optimistic that it would set within a few hours. When the time came to serve dessert at 7:00pm, the Haupia was solid and firm, but it wasn't firm enough to cut into cubes as the recipe indicated. Instead, I spooned it out like a pudding, except it had the consistency of gelatin. The taste was good but the elastic, gelatinous consistency wasn't super appealing. I'm not sure the Haupia just didn't fully set, or if that is the way it is supposed to be. It did go quite well with the fruit sorbet and fresh fruit. Overall I would say it was a bit of a bust. Not sure if I would try it again. I'm going to post the recipe anyway in case any of you are interested or are familiar with the dish and have any tips or suggestions.

Haupia (Hawaiian Coconut Pudding):

Recipe from Say Choy's Aloha Cuisine

1 12oz can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp arrowroot starch*
dash of clear vanilla extract

1. In a large saucepan combine coconut milk and milk.

2. In a small bowl, blend together sugar and arrowroot starch. Add to saucepan and stir into coconut mixture. Whisk well to avoid lumps.

3. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens. This will only take a couple minutes.

4. Pour into an 8 inch square glass baking dish. Chill in refrigerator for several hours. When firm, cut into small squares or triangles.

5. Serve with fresh fruit, sorbet, chopped roasted nuts or a drizzle of honey or agave syrup.

To make your own coconut milk, mix 4 cups freshly grated coconut with 2 cups boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes, then drain through a double thick cheesecloth. Squeeze the cheesecloth several times to extract as much liquid as possible. Keep refrigerated.

*Bob's Red Mill makes Arrowroot Starch, but if you can't find it at your local grocer, substitute cornstarch in place.


  1. Do you think it would solidify more if you let it set overnight? I like the idea of the dessert (hello, coconut!), but I've never tried it, so I don't really know what the consistency is supposed to be.

  2. go on youtube. There are videos made by people who are from Hawaii. It's supposed to set overnight or at least 4 hours in the fridge. If you want to eat it quasi-immediately, you have to put it in the freezer for 10 minutes and then move it to the fridge for 2 hours.

  3. may also add gelatin to stiffen it up. It works well with my no bake cheesecake, so it should work with Haupia as well. If you are using gelatin, watch out, it sets fast! Good luck!


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