I was flipping through the latest issue of VegNews — The Burger Issue (August 2013) — when I came across Hannah Kaminsky's feature on homemade bubble tea. And that's when I realized that I haven't had bubble tea in way too long, like at least two years, maybe longer.
There's a Vietnamese joint — Pho Vietnam — across from my street that supposedly has bubble tea. But I'm not sure of the vegan options, so I've never checked it out. I typically get my vegan boba fix from Mr. Chang's Bubble Tea in Cordova, but that's a good 25-minute drive from Midtown. And why buy overpriced bubble tea when I can make my own, right?
So I put down the magazine and drove down the street to the Viet Hoa Grocery. They had bags of instant boba (tapioca pearls) for $2.99. Of course, when I bought the pearls, I didn't notice they were the instant kind. So I used these to make Hannah's recipe, which calls for allowing the pearls to soak in water for 15 minutes. Oops. My pearls turned to mush.
And then I read the package — "5 minute boba"! Ahhhh. So I made some more following the directions on the package. Look at these fun colors!!
Then I mixed some coconut milk and Blue Lotus Chai instant powder in the blender with a few ice cubes and a touch of agave. Voila, instant chai bubble tea.
Lazy Chai Bubble Tea
1/3 cup instant tapioca pearls
4 cups water
8 ounces plant milk
1 serving scoop of instant chai tea powder
1 Tbsp. agave
Place the tapioca pearls and water in a pot with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and boil until pearls are slightly soft but still a little chewy (about 5-7 minutes). Turn off the heat and cover for 5 minutes.
Blend milk, chai powder, agave, and ice cubes in a blender.
Pour the tapioca into a colander and rinse with cold water until pearls are cool. Pour them into a glass. Pour chai tea over the bubbles. Enjoy with a thick boba straw (available at Asian markets).