Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
About two weeks ago, I had set aside a whole day to spend hiking with my best friend and her young daughter. The little girl is very smart and interested in nature; so I thought that we could take her and see how many plants she could identify. I had it all planned. They were going to arrive at my place in the morning for a nice breakfast, then pack our snacks and drive to a lovely little trail half an hour away that leads to an overlook. The trail goes through woods, a field, and by a stream so I knew there was a variety of plant life for her to observe.
Unfortunately the weather had other plans. I still can not believe how much it rained that day. As we were cleaning off our plates the rain began to fall and did not let up until well into the afternoon; long past time to leave for a hike.
Since they were already at my place, I decided we should still find a way to enjoy our time together. I had to come up with something else to do-- quick. And what better way to pass the time then in the kitchen testing out a new recipe?
Bubble tea just sounds like a lot of fun. This drink is very popular in Asian countries and is basically a sweet a milk tea with tapioca pearls and seemed perfect for her daughter to help us prepare. And I wanted to really commit to this recipe and try to make the tapioca pearls from scratch; something I had never done before, because it can be a lot of work to roll out the tapioca into the little balls we call “pearls”. But thanks to the rain, I had help!
Ingredients for tapioca pearls
- 9 tsp tapioca flour, per glass of tea (so we used 2 tsp for the three of us)
- 3 tsp BOILING water per 9 tsp of Tapioca flour, or per glass of tea (so times 3 again equals 9 tsp)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup sugar (any sugar will be fine, but I used brown sugar)
For the Bubble Tea
- Cold tea
- Coconut milk (as much or little as you want)
- Optional add ins: fruit, juice, syrup, etc.
1. Put the flour into a large, steel soup pot, because things are going to get sticky. In the pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the boiling water to the flour. *NOTE: The water must be boiling for the right consistency, otherwise you’ll wind up with a sloppy mess to clean up.
2. Mix right away with a spoon until you have ball. Once it is cool to the touch, you can knead with your hands. Since tapioca is gluten free, you do not have to worry about over mixing.
3. It will start to feel a lot like play-doh and that is how you know it is ready to form into balls. This is where the help comes in.
4. Before making the pearls though, go ahead and add the sugar to the rest of the boiling water and stir until it dissolves. Put about a quarter of the water into the fridge.
5. Take the tapioca ball and roll it out into several long logs. The width of each log is up to you, but that will be about the circumference of your pearls. I made mine a bit smaller than a pea. Now you and your help cut the logs and roll them into the pearls. This is not hard, just time consuming and is much more fun with friends!
6. Now submerge your pearls in the boiling water. They will sink and then rise. They will also expand as they absorb the sugar water. Stir every five minutes. Mine took about fifteen minutes. They will be soft and slimy but that is fine since they firm as they cool. Bubbles through out the ball is a good sign that they are done.
7. Place the balls in the cold water you had in the fridge, and then return them to the refrigerator to cool. Reserve the cooking water to sweeten your tea. While the pearls cool, brew your favorite tea! Any tea will do. (Or if you’re like me, just use the tea that’s already in your fridge.)
8. Finally, once everything is cold, pour the chilled tea into a large glass. Add the desired amount of ice, the pearls, and as much sugar syrup as you want. You can also jazz it up with flavors from fruit, juice, syrups etc.
Shake your coconut milk to create a little froth and pour it over your tea. Stick in an over-sized straw, stir, and sip the delicious creamy concoction! Enjoy!