Thick and creamy taro milk bubble tea made with fresh taro and tapioca boba pearls with the option to turn into a taro slush
I will be the first to admit I have a bubble tea obsession. When I was little, taro bubble tea was one of the most popular and classic flavours and the only one my mom would buy for me on the rare occasion I was allowed a treat.
The pastel purple, powdered taro flavour is what most places make but fresh taro is the good stuff and usually more expensive than the fake powdered stuff because of the additional work that goes into preparing the taro. If you know, you know.
This fresh taro milk bubble tea is the real deal. It's actually easier than you'd think to prepare the taro and you can make a big batch of taro paste to freeze and blend up with milk whenever your taro boba craving hits.
What is taro?
Taro is a starchy root vegetable, similar to a potato or yam. It's hard to describe the taste as there's nothing like it but it's like a very mild sweet potato but not really sweet on its own, slightly nutty, and has some aroma of vanilla and coconut.
Taro is used in savoury dishes like soups and stews and more often made into a sweetened paste to use in various Asian desserts as a filling or in drinks.
How to make taro milk bubble tea
With a vegetable peeler, remove the outer skin of the taro root. Use gloves when handling the raw taro as it contains saponins that can irritate your skin.
Cut the taro into rough slices and transfer to an adequately sized pot with enough water to just cover the taro. Make sure that there's at least a few inches of room at the top of the pot as the water will bubble up when the starch from the taro is released.
Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let it cook for 15 minutes or until the taro is soft when poked with a fork. Strain away the water.
While the taro is still hot, add the sugar and salt and use a spatula or potato masher to mash the taro into a paste. You can make it as smooth or chunky as you want, depending on if you like having chunks of taro in your drink. Set this taro paste aside to cool while you make the boba pearls.
In a small pot, boil about 2 inches of water. When the water is boiling, add the tapioca pearls and give it a stir immediately. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let it sit for another 15 minutes.
Strain out the water from the tapioca pearls and add the brown sugar and an equal amount of fresh water. Let the brown sugar syrup boil on medium-high heat for 10 minutes until it thickens and coats the pearls. Let cool before using.
In a mixing glass or blender, stir together or blend the taro paste with the milk until smooth. If you’re preparing one cup at a time, mix together 150g taro paste and 300g milk for each cup. If you’re stirring instead of using a blender, add a small amount of milk first and stir to “liquefy” the taro before slowly stirring in the rest of the milk for a smoother mixture.
In each serving cup, add a large scoop (about 100g) of pearls to the bottom of the cup and add ice.
Pour in the blended taro milk. Stir to separate the pearls and enjoy!