Monday, September 19, 2011

How to make tapioca pearls/boba from scratch

I love boba. I love how its so simple yet so tasteful. Recently I tried to find ways to make my own tapioca pearls/boba from scratch (where I live, there are only a handful of tapioca joints but they usually are too squishy for my liking) but many sites only explained how to cook store bought pearls. I don't care to cook packaged tapioca pearls! I want to make my own. Stubborn as I am, I decided to give it a try myself and if I were successful (aka if they were edible), I decided I'd post a blog about it.

Ingredients you will need:
- tapioca flour
- brown sugar
- white sugar
- water
- thai tea powder (I used the instant thai tea drink mix)

You can find the tapioca flour (79 cents) and instant thai tea drink mix (I used the Nara 3-in-1 brand. It comes in a packet of 12 for about $3) at the asian supermarket.

I mixed some tapioca flour (about 1/3 of the pouch) with boiling water in a bowl. I'm not sure if it matters if you use cold or hot water but I decided on hot water.  This might be why the mixture had a really pungent smell.  It was so bad that I literally gagged while mixing!  Haha.  Anyway, I didn't use any exact measurements but you want to mix the flour and water til it's dough-y.  Then I set that aside as I melted both the brown and white sugar on the stove.

Again, I pretty much eye-balled everything and didn't use any measurements but I tried to keep it at a one-to-one ratio of brown to white.  I also ran out of brown sugar at home so I used "brown candy" which I think is similar to brown sugar.  After the sugar melted, I let it simmer and coated my hands with the excess tapioca flour.  This is to keep the dough mixture from sticking to my fingers.  I pinched some of the dough mixture and rolled them into small "pearls" and dropped them one by one into the sugar mixture on the stove.  Continue to boil the pearls til they turn clear and scoop them out into a bowl. 

To make the instant thai tea, just follow the directions on the packet and add in your pearls!  I don't have any big straws so I just used a spoon :)

There are a couple things I would change:

1. Color: I'm not sure I like the clear color of the pearls. I might have to soak them in the sugar mixture longer so they can look more brown?

2. Texture: Sigh. I complained about tapioca joints being too squishy. Well, my tapioca pearls came out wayy too chewy.  I think next time I will boil the tapioca pearls in a separate pot and then reboil them again in the sugar mixture. Hopefully that will fix the problem.

3. My boba thai tea tasted yummy but next time I think I will try coffee or brew my own green/black tea.


Ever tried an avocado smoothie/shake? When I have a craving for something sweet at a boba shop, I usually order an avocado smoothie with boba. Mm... my avocado recipe doesn't involve boba but you can use this recipe and add it to the smoothie!

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