Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Bubble Tea

Bubble teas are the drink of my childhood. Served in plastic cup with huge, wide straws in which to suck up the tapioca balls, bubble teas aren't always made with tea. Sometimes they're made with coffee, and sometimes with fruit juice. The most pleasing thing about them is the tapioca balls that provide texture. Smooth, cold fruit juice is interspersed with a pearl of chewy, gooey tapioca. Other ingredients are also used, often fruit or coconut jellies and sometimes red aduki beans.

The bubbles don't refer to the tapioca pearls though; they are usually blended to create them, which results in a slight froth, or bubbliness and this is where they get their name. Originating from Taiwan, they are often made with powders.

After a friend gifted me with a pack of tapioca pearls purchased in a Chinese supermarket in Dalston, I set about making a fruity version. Watermelons were going cheap down the road in Peckham, so I picked up a segment. The chunks went into the blender along with a few handfuls of ice cubes, the juice of half a lime and some sugar syrup. Blended up, it made a refreshing and thirst-quenching drink. I am only sad I didn't have a giant straw to suck the pearls up with, and had to resort to a spoon instead.

Watermelon Bubble Tea

Makes around 2 pints

1/3 of a watermelon
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp water
Two big handfuls of ice cubes
A handful of tapioca pearls

In a large pan full of water, simmer the tapioca pearls for 15 - 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and divide in two, placing them in the bottom of two glasses.

In a small saucepan, simmer the 4 tbsp water with the 2 tbsp of sugar to make the sugar syrup. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add to a blender with the watermelon, ice and lime and blend well.

Pour into the two glasses and serve, preferably with a humungous straw.

11 comments:

Kavey said...

I made a bubble peanut butter coconut milk concoction a while back. With black pearls my friends said looked like frogspawn. Sigh.

Wish I'd had giant straw too.

Joshua said...

It's all about Dalston, even if bubble tea is horrid stuff.

Jonny said...

Ebay is your friend for big straws: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/50-giant-jumbo-big-fat-straws-bubble-pearls-tea-/130427990895?pt=UK_Home_Garden_Food_Drink_Wine_Bar_Accessories&hash=item1e5e1d336f

katchimo said...

Yum! My favorite fruit to go with the tapioca bubbles is honeydew melon. They just seem to compliment each other really well! Although I'm dying to try your watermelon version I can never pluck up the courage to order a coffee version. Somehow, it doesn't sound right in my head, but next time I'm near a vendor I guess I'll try it.

catty said...

Super YUM. Watermelon bubbletea from Cafe de HK is so awesome. and so is yours! Happy Birthday! xx

The Grubworm said...

I'm a relative newcomer to bubble tea - how did i not know about them before? My fave has to be iced tea made with condensed milk and those beautiful eggy pearls clustered at the bottom. But, and goodness knows why, i've never made them. Right, next stop - the Chinese supermarket in Dalston...

And happy birthday!

wouldliketoeat said...

Oh I adore bubble tea - and yes, it is in part down to the MEGA straws - but I usually only slurp them when I'm battered-drunk in HK Diner. A home-made, fruity, bubbletea would make me feel both smug and giddy. Can't wait to have a go!

Monday Chimps said...

I loeve bubble tea! but sometimes its too milky... I love this watermelon idea! :)

Tom said...

The only question is where the HELL to buy big stores.

I was really hoping when I first looked at this post that you were going to have a go at making the pearls. I can't imagine how difficult that would be!

Tom

Su-Lin said...

I forgot to buy big straws when I bought my pearls (the big black ones with the palm sugar). Love watermelon juice with bubbles too!

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