Saturday, June 29, 2013

Coconut-Mango Bubble Tea with Homemade Boba Pearls

( 4 servings)

Sometimes I feel as if I'm living in cocoon. There's been this bubble tea craze happening and I didn't even know about it! I checked and there are actually several places that serve this tasty drink right here in Dallas! Frankly I'm a bit surprised Starbucks hasn't jumped in on the bandwagon, heck in Germany and Austria, McDonalds has been serving this beverage since last summer!

This Taiwanese tea-based drink originated in the 80's. Initially it was just cold tea, sometimes infused with fruit or fruit juice. Later someone added tapioca balls to the mix. Sometimes these balls are white but more frequently they are black, made from a mixture of tapioca, sweet potato, brown sugar. This drink is often served with a special large straw so you can slurp up the tapioca balls as you enjoy your beverage.

Bubble tea is available in a variety of flavors ranging from white or green teas to milk infused dark tea combined with fruit or syrups such as durian or lavender. I tried an avocado flavored bubble tea at the Asian mall. It was smooth and creamy like a milkshake. For my first attempt at creating this tasty beverage at home I tried this version which tasted more like iced tea flavored with juice and coconut milk.

I found the big straws at the Asian supermarket, but when I looked for the boba pearls I was disappointed by all of the extra chemicals and artificial colors listed as ingredients. I ended up making the balls myself. I found a great tutorial online.

green tea boba balls
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp green tea powder, (optional; I added this for color)
1/2 cup boiling water, give or take

1 cup mango juice

Combine the starch and tea if using in a small bowl. Make a well in the centre and slowly add the boiling water while stirring. Stop when the mixture forms into a ball; you might not have to use all of the water. Knead the ball a few times.

Pinch off small pieces and form into small balls the size of petite peas. Err on the small side, otherwise you won't be able to suck them up with your straw. Dust with tapioca starch to keep them from sticking to each other.

Allow the balls to dry for a couple of hours.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in the balls. Stir until they begin to rise to the surface, then allow them to simmer another 5-10 minutes. The tutorial suggested 20-30 minutes, but mine were done sooner. Try one after 5 minutes; it should be soft and chewy.

Remove the pearls from the pot with a slotted spoon and place into a small bowl. Pour the *mango juice over the pearls and allow them to cool. *Traditionally a sugar syrup is used here in place of the juice.

bubble tea
2 cups strongly brewed tea, cooled (any flavor you like; I used English Breakfast)
1 cup coconut milk
12 regular ice cubes
4 big bubble tea straws (I found mine at an Asian market)
liquid honey, optional

Divide the cooled boba balls and juice between 4 tall glasses. Add 1/2 a cup of chilled tea to each glass, then add 1/4 cup of coconut milk to each. Finish with 3 ice cubes per glass.

Serve with the big straws. Pass around the honey and enjoy!


Megiweg said...

How long do you think the tapioca pearls will keep?

Gerlinde in Washington said...

I have had some cooked ones in my refrigerator for several days now. As is the case with the commercial ones, they have gotten hard in the middle, so I cooked them again for about 5 minutes.

I'm not certain how long the uncooked ones might last. This was my first time making them.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for sharing this recipe. Were the home made Bob chewy n fun like the ones in bubble tea shops? If so I think I just found a recipe to try.

Anonymous said...

Buy the bona at the Asian store. Tapioca is fine.

Anonymous said...

The tapioca pearls will keep for a day when refrigerated. After that, it can become too soggy or gooey. It is easy to make, the instructions were spot on, and this recipe makes it a fun experience for every member of the family.
Tapioca pearl or sago is a staple dessert ingredient in much of Southeast Asia and East Asia. It is easy to make and seldom does any cook make a mistake in making these pearls. It is also relatively easy to start as a business. You can get training and supplies from

Monica said...

Can i store the pearls uncooked after i make them?

Gerlinde in Washington said...

Monica, I'm not sure as I haven't tried that. If I did, I would probably be inclined to spread them on a silicone mat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet in a single layer, not touching and then freeze them before placing them into freezer bags for storage. This seems to work for most things, however I haven't tried that with these pearls.

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