Boba Smoothie: Step By Step Recipe
Ever tried a drink with tiny pearls at the bottom of the glass? If you have, that could have been a boba smoothie. Originated in Taiwan, drinks containing these tiny marble-like balls have gained immense popularity. tapioca starch makes up these balls. These are quite sweet in taste.
The popularity of these pearls has played an important part in spreading awareness about Taiwanese culture around the world. These drinks started to gain fame among the youngsters of China, Singapore and other neighbouring countries to Taiwan. In effect, these Asian delights are now a favourite in different continents like Australia, the States and Europe.
Today, there are enormous options such as bubble teas, smoothies and other drinks which contain these tapioca pearls. These bouncy, chewy and rubbery balls are sources of immense joy to people of all ages.
What is a Boba Smoothie?
A boba smoothie consists of a mix of milk, black tea, tapioca seeds and ice, served with a thick straw. This thick straw makes room for the large chewy balls at the bottom of the glass.
When you look at this smoothie, it has a cluster of these edible pearls which makes its appearance interesting and fun. These balls are combined with different flavours such as strawberry, chocolate and banana.
More than smoothies, this Taiwanese delight is the main ingredient in teas of many kinds. For instance, classic milk tea, brown sugar tea, taro milk tea, fruit-filled and fully loaded. The flavour of boba, also called ‘bubbles’ combines with different flavours.
To understand what these balls actually are, you should know how they’re prepared. Tapioca pearls come from the Cassava plant. These plants have a South American origin but came to Taiwan during Japanese rule in the early 1900s. Their original form is hard and tasteless. To acquire a taste, they undergo caramelization for hours. This whole process of boiling them in vats gives us the lovable boba.
Adding to this, the Taiwanese use a Q factor to measure the goodness of these pearls. That is to say, a boba with a high Q factor is bouncy, rubbery and soft. The Q factor is like the Italian notion of ‘Al Dente’ and the Taiwanese use it for other things too. Adding to this, these balls are now used in pancakes, sandwiches, pizzas and hot pot soup. The Taiwanese have also incorporated them as an ingredient in skincare products. Namely, lotions and face masks which boast the signature sweet fragrance.
A Boba smoothie is one such form of enjoying these pearls which you can get all around the world now. It is a representation of Taiwanese culture around the world.
The Benefits of Boba Smoothie
These tapioca seeds do not have any recorded benefits. As a matter of fact, these are high in sugar and carbohydrates with no fibre or vitamins. These can be a great source of energy but there is nothing more to their health benefits.
When incorporating them into your smoothie, you can add fruits to increase the amount of fibre. There are no health benefits for the smoothie with tapioca balls but there are various ways by which you can increase the nutritional profile.
On the other hand, the consumption of these pearls can increase the risks of diabetes and obesity. In effect, you should not overconsume these pearls.
To clarify, a usual beverage with these pearls uses up to 25 or 75 of them. This amount can increase the calorie in your drink by up to 400 calories. That is to say, you cannot ignore the calorie intake through these smoothies. It is best to limit its consumption. To illustrate, it is difficult to digest these balls because they are made of tapioca starch. Adding to this, some manufacturers might use preservatives which can cause gastrointestinal problems.
Despite it being unhealthy, it is possible that you get addicted to its delectable taste. To clarify, such smoothies contain high levels of sugar which increase dopamine levels and make you feel happy. That is why you might crave a boba smoothie even when you know its health risks.
To sum up, smoothies with tapioca balls can prove as great stress busters and energy boosters but do not add to your overall health.
To prepare the delicious and mouth-watering boba smoothie, you require some basic ingredients. These are the usual ingredients used when you make a smoothie. As it is, you ought to have them in your kitchen but just in case you don’t, you can find them in grocery stores nearby. Here is the list of all ingredients required to make this smoothie at home.
- 1 cup of tapioca pearls: Remember to dehydrate these or you can go for pre-cooked frozen boba. The latter would be available in an Asian grocery store. Follow the directions on the packaging to cook them.
- 4 tablespoons of 2 sweeteners: You need this to first sweeten the pearls and then to add to the smoothie. You can use sugar of your choice in both cases or a combination of different sweeteners. For instance, you can opt for agave, stevia and maple syrup.
- 4 pieces of frozen fruit: Go for any frozen fruit that suits your taste. Honeydew is a great option. However, you can also go for banana, mango or strawberry as well.
- 2 cups of milk: Coconut milk will go with honeydew. On the other hand, you can use any milk, be it a non-dairy one. For instance, you can also use oat milk, whole milk or almond milk
This is all you need for this recipe apart from kitchen tools.
You need quite basic tools to prepare your boba smoothie. Here is all you require to make a glass of this smoothie.
- A blender
- A bowling pot
- A Strainer
- A Serving glass
- A thick straw
- Cups for measurement
Apart from a stove to boil your tapioca pearls, this is everything you require for a boba smoothie.
Boba Smoothie Recipe
This is a simple 5 step recipe to prepare a soul-satisfying glass of this smoothie with pearls. You do not need to worry about the steps being difficult. This boba smoothie can be part of your house party menu. It is so interesting and fun to look at.
You can have it on your cheat days. As a matter of fact, your guests will love it! This smoothie is also very popular amongst children.
In effect, the tapioca pearls at the bottom of the glass form a delightful sight. You can serve this with some crackers and starters.
On the other hand, you can have it yourself if you feel like you deserve a treat. All in all, it is important to make the most healthy version possible without hampering its taste. It is easy to make and does not require any special equipment.
You can relish this smoothie easily with very little effort. On the other hand, be careful while preparing it. Follow these steps carefully to get a perfect glass of Boba smoothie:
- Step 1: Boil up 6 cups of water and add tapioca pearls to it. Stir until the pearls start floating on the top. Stir occasionally and cook for 20 minutes on a low flame. After that, remove it from the flame and cover it with a lid. Let it sit for 25 minutes.
- Step 2: Pour the boiled pearls over a strainer. Rinse them with cold water till they cool down.
- Step 3: Now mix your pearls with brown sugar and honey in a bowl.
- Step 4: Add honeydew (or any other frozen fruit of your choice), coconut milk (or any other milk of your choice) and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Step 5: Add your sweet boba mixture (sugar, pearls and honey mix) to a glass. Pour your blend of fruit and milk over it. Your boba smoothie is ready!
Adding to this, you can also learn a way of storing the boba. These pearls don’t keep well in the fridge. To store them, add 6 cups of water in a stock pot for every 1 cup of the pearls. Boil this as is in the recipe. Now squeeze all the air out of a bag and store your boba in it in a freezer.
This will make the boiling process easy. You can take out a desired amount of the pearls and boil them for 5 minutes. Following this, you can add them to your smoothie after cooling them down for 5 minutes.
Doesn’t storing the pearls save time? This is how you create this amazing smoothie!
Boba Smoothie: Nutritional Information
A cup of boba might not be the most nutritious thing but it does have some value when you add fruit and milk to it. Go for healthier alternatives with regard to milk, fruits and sweeteners and you might be able to add some amount of protein and vitamins to your smoothie.
On the other hand, the tapioca pearls are high in sugar and carbs which is not so easy to balance when you use them for a recipe. Here is the nutritional information for every 1 glass of the smoothie.
- Calories: 458 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 73g
- Saturated Fat: 7g
- Polyunsaturated Fatty: 1g
- Protein: 1g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 1g
- Fibre: 2g
- Sodium: 134mg
- Potassium: 405mg
- Sugar: 36g
- Vitamin A: 85 IU
- Calcium: 34mg
- Vitamin C: 31 mg
- Iron: 1mg
All in all, this smoothie is high in calories but adding fruits and milk and healthy alternatives of sweeteners can bring some amounts of vitamin A, B, Protein, Calcium and Iron to it. This is how you can elevate its nutritional profile.
Reducing the number of pearls can lower the carbohydrate and sugar content in the smoothie. On the other hand, if you do not wish to compromise on the taste, you can have the smoothie with a desired amount of boba.
Does Boba Smoothie Have Milk?
Boba smoothie does have milk. The most typical form of it contains ice, black tea, milk, sugar and tapioca pearls. The good thing is, that you can go for a vegan smoothie by choosing a non-dairy milk alternative. Any kind of milk is suitable for this smoothie ranging from almond milk to soya milk. It is up to you to add your preferred milk, but milk is a must in the smoothie. Most smoothies like this one, do need milk as an important ingredient to blend the flavours of fruits and sugar used.
How Do You Make Boba In A Blender?
It is important to note that you cannot add the tapioca pearls in a blender. To enjoy their actual rubbery softballs you need to first place them in a mug and then add your smoothie blend over it. If you blend your pearls they would lose their shape. This can also make the smoothie a bit too sweet. Therefore, always remember to prepare your boba and blend milk and fruits separately. This applies to both smoothies and tea which have these pearls as their ingredient.
What Is The Boba Made Of?
tapioca starch obtained from cassava trees makes boba. This undergoes a process of caramelization where the balls are sweetened by bubbling them. That is why these are tapioca pearls in their early form. You then boil them with the addition of sugar making them ready as an ingredient in a smoothie or tea. As a matter of fact, boba actually refers to balls made of tapioca starch which undergo a sweetening process.
Does Boba Smoothie Have Tea?
This smoothie is typically made using black tea but various recipes such as the one shared, do not require tea. Adding or not adding tea is a choice and also depends on the recipe you follow. Most Taiwanese joints prepare the boba drinks in their authentic form. To clarify, they add tea, sugar and milk along with the pearls. No matter how you prepare it, the taste will be sweet and make you relish it.
Are Tapioca Pearls Cancerous?
There isn’t any research which proves the presence of carcinogens in tapioca seeds. On the other hand, according to a German study in the year 2012, there was a presence of acetophenone and styrene. The good news is that these are FDA-approved. Researchers had mistaken them for polychlorinated biphenyls which are carcinogens. The substances in boba seeds might not be carcinogenic but there are researchers who claim that styrene may be carcinogenic but it is unclear. As a result, we cannot call it cancerous because the research was never published. There is no record that these contain cancerous substances.
What Are Boba Smoothies Made Of?
Boba smoothie consists of gluten-free tapioca pearls extracted from the cassava tree, frozen fruits, milk and sugar. The mandatory ingredient is milk and tapioca pearls. On the other hand, you can even go for fresh fruits depending on your preference. You are free to use any sweetener and milk. Adding to this, the typical form of this smoothie contains tea. However, there are recipes which do not require tea for the smoothie. As a matter of fact, the smoothies with these pearls need similar ingredients to any regular smoothie.
Can You Eat Boba Pearls?
It is okay to eat these pearls but remember to chew them properly and not swallow them. To clarify, the tapioca ingredient in them does not dissolve quickly. As a matter of fact, if you do not chew the pearls they lead to indigestion. All in all, tapioca pearls are not exactly healthy. The motive of these when added to a beverage is to enhance taste and not nutrition. Due to this, you should be careful regarding your consumption of these pearls. Remember to limit their consumption to stay healthy.
Are Bobas Healthy?
The answer to this question lies in the low nutritional profile of the bobas. To clarify, these are not healthy for your overall health. Due to high sugar and fat, this might be a good source of instant energy but it might cause obesity too. To incorporate these pearls in your intake depends on your daily physical activity. If you do not indulge in many exercises, you should limit your intake. Adding to this, if you have digestive problems, avoid consuming these pearls.
Why is it called Boba?
This word has a Chinese origin. It is Chinese slang for breasts. The tapioca pearls got their name due to the similarity of their shape which is spherical and so similar to that of breasts. On the contrary, boba has a Taiwanese origin. The Taiwanese call it “Zhenzhu Naicha”. The name boba became popular due to its ease of pronunciation. In effect, these balls are also called tapioca pearls or bubbles alternatively. Due to their different names, the name of drinks and smoothies containing them differs. For instance, bubble tea and boba milk smoothies.
What Does Boba Taste Like?
These pearls are quite sweet. This is due to their process of caramelization. In effect, there are certain manufacturers which offer a variety of flavours. These flavours could be honey, watermelon, orange and strawberry. Flavoured boba balls are tapioca pearls which have a coating of flavoured syrup. The most popular type of these is the black boba which is a popular ingredient in bubble tea.
Is Boba Good For Weight Loss?
If you have some weight loss goals, the answer to this question is no. Boba can never be good for weight loss since it’s all sugar, fat and carbs. It is negligible in fibre, vitamins and minerals. It can rather increase the risks of obesity, heart ailments and diabetes. If you want to lose weight, resist high-calorie food like boba. In fact, one glass of its smoothie contains around 400-1000 calories. Therefore, it is not good for weight loss at all.
To sum up, boba is a Taiwanese delight which is now famous around the globe. It is a great add-on for a number of beverages such as teas and smoothies. These are balls which are also referred to as tapioca seeds. The Taiwanese, call them Zhenzhu Naicha. Boba, pearl and bubble are the three alternatives for its name. These pearls are famous for the sweet taste that they add to drinks.
Due to high fat and sugar, these pearls are not very healthy. Adding to this, the overconsumption of these might lead to increased sugar levels. On the contrary, they can provide you instant energy and increase the level of dopamine due to sugar.
In effect, you might get addicted to their taste. These pearls can be used for various delicious smoothies and teas and are therefore popular around the world. To increase their nutritional value, you can incorporate the use of healthy options with regard to milk and sugar and decrease the number of pearls in your recipe. These pearls added to a smoothie are absolutely delicious and represent the Taiwanese culture with their flavour and taste.
Have you ever tried a boba smoothie? Did you like it? Comment down below to let us know!
- A Blender
- A bowling pot
- A strainer
- A serving glass
- A thick straw
- Cups for measurement
- 1 cup of tapioca pearls
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 4 cups of honeydew or any other fruit of your choice
- 2 cups of coconut milk or any other milk of your choice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 6 cups of water
- Boil 6 cups of water and add tapioca seeds. Wait till they float to the top and cook for 20 minutes on a low flame.
- Let it rest for 25 minutes covered with a lid.
- Strain the tapioca balls and rinse with cold water to cool them down.
- Place the pearls in a bowl and mix them with honey and brown sugar.
- Blend honeydew, sugar and coconut milk until smooth.
- Add the boba mixture to a cup and add your smoothie blend over it. The smoothie is ready!
Deeksha Tripathi is a Literature graduate and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration. Besides being a passionate writer, she is a fashion enthusiast.