Nam Wang Puak (Kabocha Squash in Sweet Broth)

By Chef Seng Luangrath, Thip Khao

In Laos, sweet broths are served warm as dessert. There are a variety of them. Kabocha squash, while commonly eaten in savory soups and curries, is featured in the one that I enjoy. Evoking fall, this choice is a great counterpoint to any meal—and best, perhaps, on a cold night. Serves 4.  


  • 4 cups cubed kabocha squash (about 11 ounces), approximately ¾ inch in length and a ½ inch in width (don’t cut the pieces too large) 
  • 1 cup water (to make the pudding) 
  • ½ cup cold water (to soak tapioca pearls) 
  • 2 cups coconut milk 
  • ½ teaspoon salt (preferably kosher or sea salt) 
  • ¼ cup tapioca pearls  
  • ½ cup sugar 


Place the squash, water and coconut milk in an uncovered pot. Stirring occasionally, bring the contents to a boil on high heat, about 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce to medium-low heat and continue cooking, monitoring closely, until the squash becomes soft but not mushy, about 5 to 8 minutes.  

Just before the squash reaches its desired doneness, place the tapioca pearls in a small bowl and allow them to soak in cold water for about 2 minutes.  

Once the squash is done, add in the tapioca pearls and mix. On low heat, stirring occasionally, allow the pearls to soften and turn translucent while making sure they don’t become pasty, about 2 minutes. 

Finally, when the consistency is somewhere between soup and pudding, add the sugar, mix well and turn off the heat. Serve immediately while warm.