Tapioca pearls are tiny balls of starch that are usually used to enhance the beauty of tea and other drinks. These tiny spheres add a chewy texture to the drinks.
Over the years, tapioca balls have become popular because of the chewy texture and flavor they impart to drinks and desserts.
Many people use these pearls as an alternative to sago pearls. These pearls are added to different treats for a delightfully chewy texture.
These pearls are available in both cooked and uncooked forms. You can use the cooked pearls for adding to your drinks every day. However, if you want to prepare the pearls at home, it’s a matter of minutes.
Cooking the tapioca pearls is an easy task. All you have to do is, preheat the water to a high temperature and when it starts bubbling, add the pearls to it. Cook the pearls for a few minutes. Cooking time can vary because of the different types and brands of pearls.
While cooking, make sure you do not leave the pearls in water for too long because leaving the pearls in water for too long can cause disintegration.
Once you are done cooking tapioca pearls, prepare sugar syrup and coat the pearls for a sweet taste. You can honey for this purpose as well.
In this article, I’ll explain how to cook tapioca pearls. Furthermore, I’ll share information about the types of tapioca pearls, what they taste like and how you can serve these pearls.
To learn more about tapioca pearls, read the article in detail. Let’s get started
What are tapioca pearls?
Tapioca pearls or boba are small transparent spheres that attain the size of a pea or tiny squishy marble when cooked.
These pearls are made of starch obtained from cassava roots and have no taste. That’s why people prefer to coat these pearls with sugar syrup or honey for a sweet taste.
People in different world regions love to add these tiny balls to their tea and drinks to give them a chewy texture and make them more healthy & energizing.
Tapioca pearls are extremely healthy for the body as they are a good source of calcium and iron for the body. Also, these pearls contain fibers, carbohydrates, and very few calories.
Daily intake of these pearls makes the bones stronger and enhances the oxygen supply in the body.
What do tapioca pearls taste like?
Tapioca pearls usually are tasteless because of their high starch content in them. That’s why people use these pearls after coating them with honey and sugar syrup. It gives the pearls an exciting sweet flavor.
With the increase in their demand, different flavors of tapioca pearls are currently available in the market. You can choose any of these flavored tapioca pearls like mango, pine, berries, etc. to give your drink a new burst of taste.
Are tapioca pearls the same as sago?
Tapioca and sago are not the same but are often used interchangeably due to their similar appearance and use in cooking. Tapioca is derived from the cassava plant’s starchy roots, while sago comes from the pith of sago palm trees.
Both tapioca and sago are used in various dishes and desserts, especially in Asian cuisines, to add a chewy and gelatinous texture.
What are the types of tapioca pearls?
There are various types of tapioca pearls available in the market nowadays. Some varieties are black, some are clear like crystal balls, some varieties have small sizes, and some are flavored.
Instead of buying these tasteless pearls from the market, old people usually prefer to make these balls at home. They make pearls by mixing water and starch & then coat them with honey.
The reason is homemade tapioca pearls taste much better than those available at high prices in the market.
How to cook tapioca pearls?
Cooking the tapioca pearls is an easy task and takes only a few minutes only. However, the cooking time may vary greatly because different types and sizes of pearls take time differently.
The simple recipe that you can use to cook every type of tapioca pearl is written below;
First of all, take 6 cups of water in a pan.
Boil the water until it starts making bubbles.
Pour one cup of tapioca pearls into the boiling water.
Stir the pearls to avoid sticking.
Let the balls cook for a few minutes.
Check if the balls are done.
Remove the pan from the flame.
Drain the water.
Leave the tapioca pearls to cool down at room temperature.
Prepare sugar syrup, and coat the pearls to give them a sweet flavor.
Serve the pearls as you want.
What are the uses of tapioca pearls?
Here are few uses of tapioca pearls;
- For making bubble tea
- In puddings and desserts
- Fruit salads and fruit cocktails
- Soup thickeners
- Topping for ice cream or yogurt
What are the tips that you should consider while making tapioca pearls?
The essential tips that you should consider while making tapioca pearls are as follows;
- Heat the water to bubbles before putting tapioca pearls in it because leaving them in water for too long can break them.
- Do not rinse the tapioca pearls before using them.
- The tapioca pearls may have different sizes, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Check the pearls while cooking to have the perfect softness.
- Change the water after every few minutes.
- Remember that the size of pearls will increase after boiling because they absorb moisture.
- Measure the quantity correctly before boiling.
These tips will help you boil tapioca pearls perfectly without the fear of disintegration.
How to store tapioca pearls?
You can store uncooked tapioca pearls in the refrigerator like other kitchen ingredients. They can last for 6-8 months easily if properly stored.
To store the uncooked pearls, follow the steps;
- Wash the airtight containers and pat them dry.
- Fill the containers with uncooked tapioca pearls.
- Tightly close the lid.
- Place the containers in the refrigerator.
In the case of cooked tapioca pearls, storage is not a wise decision. You should consume the pearls as early as possible otherwise, they will go rancid.
How long do tapioca pearls last?
Tapioca pearls, also known as boba, have a relatively short shelf life and should be consumed within a specific timeframe to maintain their quality.
Uncooked, dry tapioca pearls typically have a shelf life of around 6 to 12 months if stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.
Once cooked, their lifespan decreases significantly, and they are best consumed within a few hours to a maximum of one day.
If left at room temperature for an extended period, tapioca pearls can become hard and lose their chewy texture.
To ensure the best taste and texture, it is recommended to use freshly cooked tapioca pearls for bubble tea and other desserts.
Do you have to soak tapioca pearls?
It depends on your choice and the type of tapioca pearls in your kitchen cabinet because soaking the pearls in liquid sometimes causes disintegration.
Some people prefer to soak tapioca pearls in brown sugar syrup and honey before adding them to drinks. So, it is totally up to your choice whether you want to soak them or not.
Can you use tapioca pearls for bubble tea?
Yes, you can use tapioca pearls for making bubble tea. The addition of tapioca pearls in bubble tea or any other drink breaks their boring consistency and makes them flavourful and healthy.
Why do tapioca pearls turn into mush when boiling?
Tapioca pearls turn into mush when boiling because of their high starch content. As they are cooked in water, the starch molecules swell and absorb liquid, causing them to lose their distinct shape and become gelatinous and mushy. Overcooking can also lead to the breakdown of the pearls’ structure, resulting in a less desirable texture.
How to cook small, white tapioca pearls?
To cook small, white tapioca pearls, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the tapioca pearls to the boiling water and stir gently to prevent sticking. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the pearls are translucent and soft, then drain and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Do you cook white and black tapioca pearls the same way?
White and black tapioca pearls are cooked using a similar method, but there are slight differences in their cooking times. Both varieties should be boiled in a pot of water until they become translucent and soft. However, black tapioca pearls typically require a longer cooking time than white ones. This is because black tapioca pearls are often larger and denser, requiring more time to fully cook and achieve the desired chewy texture.
Is it possible to cook tapioca pearls faster?
Yes, it is possible to cook tapioca pearls faster using a few techniques. One method is to partially cook the tapioca pearls in boiling water for a few minutes and then remove them from the heat.
Another approach is to use a microwave: place the tapioca pearls in a microwave-safe bowl with water, cover it, and microwave on high for a minute or two, checking and stirring occasionally until they reach the desired consistency.
However, it’s essential to keep an eye on the pearls to prevent overcooking or uneven texture. Speeding up the cooking process can be convenient, but it is essential to ensure the pearls are adequately softened and safe to consume.
Can tapioca pearls make you sick?
Consuming tapioca pearls is generally safe, but they can cause discomfort or digestive issues in some individuals.
Overconsumption or improper preparation may lead to bloating, constipation, or an upset stomach.
Additionally, if tapioca pearls are left at room temperature for too long, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria, potentially causing food poisoning.
To minimize the risk of illness, it is crucial to cook tapioca pearls according to the instructions and store them properly in a cool environment.
What are the health benefits of tapioca pearls?
Tapioca pearls are a good source of calcium essential for stronger & healthy bones and reduce the risks of fractures and bones weakening.
Moreover, it contains iron that enhances oxygen transport throughout the body. It is zero in calories and carbohydrates which improves heart health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do tapioca pearls dissolve?
Tapioca pearls are tiny spheres of starch that are naturally soft, and when you soak them in liquid, they become more squishy and chewy.
If you leave tapioca pearls in the liquid for too long, they absorb excess moisture and start losing their shape. As a result, they dissolve.
How to serve tapioca pearls?
Tapioca pearls are easy to digest and have no flavor. However, if you add them to any drink, they will make it taste good and flavorful.
You can serve tapioca pearls in puddings, bubble tea, Thai tea, almond milk, and drinks like melon sparkle, lychee banana smoothie, etc. All these drinks will taste incredible with tapioca pearls.
Moreover, you can grind tapioca pearls and add their powder to gravies, sauces, soups, and other dishes to give them a thick texture.
What is the difference between white tapioca pearls and sago pearls?
The main difference between tapioca pearls and sago pearls is as follows;
Tapioca pearls are made up of starch and water. The starch used in pearls is extracted from cassava plants. They are tasteless and easy to digest. They make the bones more robust and healthy.
Sago pearls have the same appearance as tapioca pearls. However, these pearls are extracted from palm plants. Sago pearls do not hold much flavor like tapioca. These pearls are good for heart health.
How to make sugar syrup for tapioca pearls?
For making a good sugar syrup, all you have to do is;
Take a pan and pour some water into it.
Add half a cup of brown sugar and a half cup of white sugar to the pan.
Heat the mixture at a high temperature.
Stir the mixture until it becomes thick.
Remove the pan from the flame and leave it at room temperature to cool down for a few minutes.
After cooking the pearls, put them in a glass or container.
Pour the sugar syrup over the pearls to enhance their flavor.
Can you eat too many tapioca pearls?
Consuming too many tapioca pearls at once can lead to discomfort and bloating. Tapioca pearls are high in starch and carbohydrates, which can be heavy on the digestive system in large quantities. It’s essential to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet to avoid potential digestive issues.
How do you know tapioca pearls are done?
To determine if tapioca pearls are done cooking, look for their transformation into a translucent appearance, indicating that they are fully cooked and no longer opaque in the center. The pearls should have a soft and chewy texture, with no hardness or crunchiness when bitten into.
To wrap up
Tapioca pearls are small starch balls with a chewy texture and no flavor. These balls are available in the market in different flavors. You can also make these balls at home with starch and water.
Cooking these tiny pearls is an extremely easy task. Dip them in hot boiling water at high temperatures for a few minutes, and then coat them with honey or sugar syrup to enhance their flavor and texture.
You can add these sweet pearls to milk tea, almond milk, fruit smoothies, and other drinks to give them a yummy flavor and a chewy texture.
I’m Eshé the lady behind the blog. That’s me cooking on the set of The Hairy Bikers. I LOVE food and I don’t mean I really like it. I mean my whole world revolves around it.