Learn how to make black tapioca pearls (boba pearls) from scratch with this simple tutorial. It is so easy and fun to make and much better than using the dried one.
In my last post, I shared my easy, simple version of how to make Bubble Tea using all natural and basic ingredients. I also mentioned that I made my own black tapioca pearls.
The reason for this is because after we came back from our Taipei trip, Armin seems to be craving for Bubble Tea. And since I was getting fed up waiting in long queues at milk tea stands whenever we see one, I decided that it is time to make my own Bubble tea at home.
The problem is, I cannot find black tapioca pearls and believe me we’ve searched everywhere! Maybe they are available in the big city (Manila) but not anywhere near where we live. I found the usual dried sago and even the colorful ones but no black tapioca pearls. We even went as far as asking the tea shops where they get theirs and was told it is delivered to them together with the other supplies and that is all we can get out of them.
I was left with but two choices; to use the regular dried sago or to learn how to make tapioca pearls and I, being me, chose the latter.
I have a pack of the small dried tapioca pearls in my pantry so I looked up what the ingredients are. I was surprised to see that it only needs one. Tapioca flour! Now, that sounds promising, at least. I was not able to find tapioca flour though but saw some tapioca starch, which is mostly the same thing.
This post from Instructables on how to make tapioca pearls help me get started. Very good tutorial there and it works perfectly for making regular white/transparent tapioca pearls. But how do I make them black?
Leslie did mention cooking the pearls in colored water and letting them sit in it after cooking. I tried it and it did somehow turn my pearls to a blackish hue but only on the surface and the core remained white. My goal is to have them as black as the ones you get in the milk tea shops. This means a little more experiments are needed.
I tried adding the color to the water to make the tapioca dough. It was tricky because the water should be really hot, like just-boiled hot, when you add it to the tapioca flour or starch so you have to work fast or else you will get a weird texture that is wet but powdery at the same time (doesn’t make sense, I know, but believe me, it is possible) and will never form into a dough.
So for those who have patiently waited for this tutorial, here are the steps involved in making homemade black tapioca pearls.
1. Place tapioca flour or starch in a bowl.
2. Place black food color in a separate bowl and add a tablespoon of hot water to the food color.
3. Add the rest of the water directly to the tapioca flour and pour the colored water to the bowl as well.
4. Mix tapioca flour and water with a fork until they start to stick together.
5. Transfer to a flat surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth.
6. Divide the dough into 2 and roll each forming thin sticks. Cut them into small pieces. Try to make them as even in size as possible and should be small enough to pass through your straw.
7. Roll each piece in between your palms to make them round.
8. Bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil in a small pot or saucepan.
9. Add the tapioca pearls to the boiling water and let it cook for 15 minutes or longer until the desired consistency (soft or chewy) is achieved. They will also become darker as they cook.
10. Remove from heat and let it rest for a few minutes. They will shrink back to the original size and will turn black at this point.
11. Transfer tapioca pearls into a sugar syrup or a bowl with a little water to prevent them from sticking together.
It was really a lot of fun doing these homemade tapioca pearls, like playing with clay or play-doh so I think this will be a good and fun kiddie project.
I also find that they are much better than the dried ones. They cook faster, for one and I like the chewy texture that is exactly like the one they use in bubble teas we had in Taipei.