If you've never heard of bubble tea until this, you're not alone - and if you've never attempted making it before, that's not unusual either. This interesting, frothy drink was named for the bubbles that come to the top of the cup. The bubbles are made by adding cooked tapioca pearls or coconut jelly to the mixture. Sweetened syrups to give the tea different flavors are often added as well.
In this case, we are talking about strawberry bubble tea. So, how do you make this stuff, anyhow? Well, you'll need to start by cooking some tapioca pearls. You can usually find these small black or white balls at high end grocery stores or Asian markets. To cook, bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 cup of dry tapioca pearls, stirring them in slowly to prevent sticking. When all of the pearls have floated to the top, cover the pot and boil for 20-30 minutes. You'll want to stir the pearls few times.
Once the tapioca pearls are tender on the outside, turn off the heat and allow the pearls to stay in the cooking water for about another 25 minutes. Finally, rinse the tapioca pearls with water until the water runs clear. Thoroughly drain the pearls. To store the pearls, if you don't plan on using them all right away, cover with the simple bubble tea sugar syrup, place in an air-tight container, and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
When you're ready to make strawberry bubble tea, pour 1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries and 1/2 cup of milk or tea into the blender. Since you'll want this bubble tea to be creamy, add a small amount of half-and-half or heavy cream if you're using tea as the base.
Make a simple bubble tea sugar syrup by boiling together equal amounts of sugar and water, using both white and brown sugars. Make just enough syrup for the drinks you'll need. Add 1 tablespoon of the syrup to the blender as well as 1 cup of ice cubes. Blend all of these ingredients together.
Finally, put four tablespoons of the cooked tapioca pearls into a cup. Pour strawberry mixture over the pearls and stir.
This recipe makes only one serving, so if you'd like others to enjoy this drink with you, add more strawberries, milk, ice cubes, and syrup to the blender. You can also forgo adding the syrup to the blender and simply use the sugar syrup coating from your refrigerated tapioca pearls. You'll just have to heat the syrup up slightly so it's easily stirred into the drink.
Now you can enjoy strawberry bubble tea!