Monday, May 26, 2008

Thai Coconut Bubble Tea

I got a wild hair this weekend and seized upon the idea of making my own bubble tea at home. Mind you, I didn't have a recipe! No, I decided to make one up. The Monster loves him some coconut bubble tea, so that had to be my main ingredient. Sounded like we needed to make the trek to My Thahn Super-Insanely- Large Asian market waaaaaay up north. I had all kinds of weird goodies to get afterall...not all of which were found. I KNOW they used to have fresh kaffir lime leaves, but this time I couldn't find them anywhere, frozen or fresh. No worries, I just subbed some lime zest and that seemed to be just fine.

The Plan:

steep aromatics in heated soymilk and sweeten the mix with agave nectar

freeze a can of coconut cream (cream is 70% coconut, versus 55% in coconut milk, but both are unsweetened) in a gallon sized freezer baggie on a sheet it'd freeze faster and I could break off thin chunks as needed...and, I don't have an ice cube tray!

cook up my 5 minute tapioca balls (I got bags of both green tea flavored and the regular dark ones)

blend the iced coconut cream, a little crushed ice and now chilled soymilk concoction

add a scoop of tapioca balls to a glass and top with blended coconut milk mix

stick pilfered (actually the guy at our local Vietnamese restau was kind enough to give us some)
tailpipe-sized straws in and slurp til we regretfully reach the bottoms of our glasses

So are you just nutty enough to try this yourself? Yay! Here's the recipe loony! :-)

Thai Coconut Bubble Tea:

6 whole sprigs of cilantro
10 large thai basil leaves
1 Tbs grated lemongrass (outer leaf removed)
1 1x1" piece of galangal, peeled and sliced (our HEB has actually started carrying this now!)
1 1x2" piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, or 2 tsp grated lime zest (I forgot to put it in the bowl when taking the shot of the ingredients.)
2 cups of plain unsweeted soymilk (although I suppose if you want you can use the sweet one)
1/4 cup agave nectar (or to taste)
1 large can of unsweetened coconut cream (I'm sure the regular coconut milk would work just fine...I bought both at the Asian market just cause I couldn't make up my mind)

crushed ice
large tapioca balls (the softer kind made for putting in drinks)
large straws! (didn't come across these at the market, but they HAD to be there)

Pour whole can of unsweetened coconut cream into a gallon-sized freezer bag and lay flat on a baking sheet in the freezer. Let it freeze solid.
Put cilantro through kaffir lime leaves (or lime zest) in a food processor. Blend until well smooshed.
Add to a saucepan and add 2 cups of soymilk. Bring to the boil, stirring and making sure that it doesn't scorch.
When it comes to the boil, remove from heat and cover. Leave to steep for 20 min. or so.
Place a fine seive over a bowl and pour soy mixture in to strain all the solids from the milk.

Make sure you squish out all the good liquid from the solids with your teflon paws.
Add agave nectar to your taste...I used 1/4 cup of amber agave, but the light agave would be really good.
Cover bowl and place in fridge to chill.
When your coconut cream is frozen and your soymilk mixture nicely chilled, cook your tapioca as per the instructions on the package. Scoop some into each glass of bubble tea you'll be making.
Get out your blender.
Per glass of bubble tea i added ~___coconut cream, ~___soymilk mixture, and ___crushed ice....(ok, this was written before I had an idea how much of each to use. Guess what. I still don't know how much!! :-) Just play with the amounts and make sure you have a really good blender. We ended up with chunks of frozen coconut cream in ours. A better idea might be to mix liquid coconut cream into your soymilk mixture until the flavor is right, then add more plain soymilk to dilute if you want. Then just serve over ice instead of blending with frozen elements. Not as much fun, but I've had it served this way plenty of times in restaurants)
Blend until smooth.

Now pour over the tapioca pearls in each glass.

Stick in that huge straw and start slurpin'!

This version should probably be reserved for days you've really kicked your ass at the gym!
My next flavor is going to be fresh honeydew with the green tea pearls and it should be decidedly lighter in calories and less trouble to make. :-)

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