Have you ever wanted to know exactly what is tapioca? Most people have a love/hate relationship with tapioca because some people love tapioca pudding, while others hate it. There is also a product made from tapioca called tapioca pearls that are commonly used in Asian beverages.
What are Tapioca Pearls?
Tapioca pearls, also known as boba pearls, are made from the root of the cassava plant, which is found in Brazil. The cassava plant is known as mandioca and the root is called tapioca. The pearls are made from tapioca starch and, though they are usually white or off-white, food coloring is added to make them other colors. Tapioca pearls can be bought in most Asian markets or found online.
How to Cook Tapioca Pearls
The most common use for tapioca pearls is to make boba tea, also called bubble tea. They are also used in coffee or sweet puddings, but they must be cooked first before they can be used in beverages or desserts. The pearls are flavorless on their own, so sugar and flavorings are added to them after they have been cooked.
When cooking tapioca pearls, it is important that they are cooked to the perfect texture because undercooking them will make them tough and hard to chew. If they are overcooked, then they will be too soft. However, cooking tapioca pearls correctly is fairly easy to do.
To cook the pearls, choose a large pan and add eight cups of cold water to it, leaving three to four inches at the top of the pan. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the tapioca pearls to the water and stir them with a wooden spoon to prevent them from sticking to the sides and bottom of the pan.
When the tapioca pearls float to the stir, place a tight fitting lid over the pan and cook them for six minutes. Remove the lid and stir the pearls, then replace the lid and cook for another six minutes. Take the pan off the heat, stir the pearls, put the lid back, and let the pan rest of the heat for 20 minutes.
Transfer the tapioca pearls to an ice bath using a slotted spoon and let them rest in the cold water for five to 10 minutes. Afterwards, remove them with the slotted spoon and they are ready to flavor.