July 6, 2009

How to make lychee bubble tea

The Pony family is on a summer drinks kick. Yesterday Mr. Pony said 'We have all the ingredients, but we've never made you bubble tea!'. You see, a few weeks {months} ago we visited a large Asian market near my in-laws and purchased whole lychees in syrup, tapioca balls (the bubbles in bubble tea) and lichee black tea. This trio has sat, twiddling their metaphoric thumbs , in our pantry since January. Finally, 7 months later, we have mended this travesty and *tadaaa*!!! Bubble tea!

If you haven't had bubble tea, you really are missing out! The version we made may not be totally 'traditional' (if there is such a thing), but it is really easy (3 ingredients easy) and super tasty for an at home treat on a hot summer day!

Lychee Bubble Tea (makes 2 large cups)

To make tapioca 'bubbles', you need:
6 tbsp tapioca balls (available at most Asian markets)
3.75 cups water

Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the tapioca balls while stirring (this keeps them from clumping). Let the tapioca balls boil until they start to float to the top and look plumped up. Once this happens, lower the temp to medium and cover pot for 5 minutes. Double check the directions on your package of tapioca balls- a 1 cup tapioca to 10 cups water ratio is normal, but for home use, 1 cup tapioca is a LOT.

While the tapioca is cooking, brew up a strong batch of your favorite black or green tea (we used tea flavored like our ingredient, but you can use whatever kind you like).

Next prepare your fruity ingredient. We had lychee's in syrup sitting around which we blended to make 3/4 cup of liquid. I'd recommend using a canned fruit with syrup because then you get a lot of flavorful liquid to add to the bubble tea, but I'm sure using real fruit would be tasty (just make sure its juicy!). Once your fruit ingredient is ready and the tapioca balls have rested, strain out the tapioca and put them in the fruity ingredient. This will help them gain a bit more flavor. If you just want them to be sweet, you can soak them in a simple syrup or coconut milk and it will add a nice flavor as well.
Now for the hard part- you have to wait. I know, it sucks, but trust me- warm bubble tea is not such a great treat as cool bubble tea. My suggestion is to pour 1.5 cups of tea into a container with a lot of surface area (for faster cooling) and put the tea and the fruit ingredient in the fridge for a while so it gets cool quickly. You are nearly done!

Once cool, blend together:

1.5 cups of tea
3/4 cup of blended fruit ingredient (lychee in our case)
6 oz. vanilla ice cream (this adds a pleasant creaminess to the beverage)

Pour into 2 glasses, plop in an extra fat straw (so you can actually suck up the tapioca bubbles as you drink) and enjoy!

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. - T'ien Yiheng

*all photos by me


Lucy Vaserfirer said...

If you're impatient like me, use an ice bath to cool your tea. Oh wow, that rhymes!

Cat @ No Wooden Spoons said...

Very cool! I've only had bubble tea once or twice and couldn't really get into liking it. I may have to try this recipe soon!


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