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Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to make boba

So, what the hell is boba? We should probably know this before we start making it.
Ever had tapioca pudding? Those little balls of gooey chewiness are made from the root of the tapioca plant, the bizarre ugly kid with braces  of nature. 
It's ok, tapioca tree, I wore braces for 7 years. I feel you. This gelatinous concoction is then made into tapioca pudding balls, or tapioca pearls- or, boba. Which literally translates to large breasts. Yum? And those bubbly boobs in your drink are why it's called bubble tea.

Except! It's all a lie. Boba is not actually why it's called bubble tea- that answer is much too obvious clearly. The reason is actually that the tea is traditionally shaken before being poured, forming bubbles.
I know- what the hell, Japan? 

Now let's move on to what's important.
How to make these delicious LYING bastards. 
This is my boba jar. You want your boba to be made of ONLY tapioca starch. No "starch" no "potato starch" no mixes, just tapioca starch. The boba will have other ingredients, but it's starch should only be of the tapioca kind. 

Measure out how much you want. I usually go with a few cups so I can save it but when you refrigerate boba the insides do break down in the cold and can go crunchy, so try to only make as many as you can have that day. 

Pour your pearls into boiling water. Much like pasta, you want a lot of water. You don't have to worry about having too much like with rice- in fact the more water the better. 

Boil and boil. You want the pearls to look black and gooey, and when you take a sample it should taste right. Over cook here. Unlike pasta and rice, boba don't really get soggy unless you boil them endlessly for days- which I did, it's gross. If you want to have a lot on demand, you can put the finished pearls in a slow cooker. This is how many boba shops keep their boba soft all day. This does not work past 12 hours at which point you have jellos weird cousin that no one talks about. 
Strain the pearls.
Place in a simple sugar syrup. I use equal parts sugar, water, and honey for mine, and then boil the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. 
Put the boba in the mixture.
And that's it! Mine is in the fridge here because I actually like mine crunchy, but again you could use immediately, you could put it in a slow cooker. When you pour it into a drink, pour it after the tea has been shaken, and include some syrup for sweetening. You want a layer of warm syrup around the boba until you drink it, preserving the soft texture. 

More details on the tea aspect later,
As always

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