We’ve always wanted to make a tasty boba drink at home. We aren’t die hard boba people by any means, but we know the taste and texture we like when we order boba and the reality is that there are more shops that fail us than satisfy our tapioca cravings.
When it comes to boba drinks and also with 99.99% of all things in life everything comes down to preference. So it’s important to us to have a favorite place and to be able to stick to that place because sometimes quality can get so inconsistent from shop to shop. Sometimes the tea is good but the boba balls suck or the balls are great but the tea sucks. The texture of boba we are looking for isn’t just sugary fluffy balls in our mouth… we want them soft with enough chew to but chewy enough to enhance the drinking experience without becoming a workout.
Our Boba Standard
Our standard comes from a spot called The Alley. We first tried this place in Busan, Korea during our year of travel and fell in love with the texture of their balls! Then we saw one in Bangkok, Thailand and of course we ordered it there. Then coincidentally when we arrived in Singapore just in time for a grand opening of one. So you can imagine, The Alley has some great memories for us in our year of travel! Let us know in the comments what’s your favorite boba spot and why!
Boba Failures and Discoveries
Boba, while simple in its ingredients, isn’t as easy as it seems. We have attempted and failed at making boba a good number of times using recipes from Emmymade, Inga Lam, Cooking tree and even tried the recipe from the folks at Tasty. Out of the 15-20 attempts maybe 1 or 2 were successes, our failures included a dough never being formed so it would just bloop out and never keep shape. One time when we finally got to roll out the balls then boiled it, it all disintegrated! Some started to crumble right away some didn’t keep its shape during cooking process, it was weirdly inconsistant failure in terms of what was going on. Since failure occurred at so many different stages, it was hard to pinpoint and troubleshoot what was going on. Then we started to do more research on types of sugar. We even attempted making our own brown sugar from sugar cane juice since brown sugar in Asia is super different than the dark brown sugars we have here. But with the various sugars we tried, there weren’t any changes, so we started to realize that the sugar couldn’t be the main reason why our tests weren’t going well.
So we decided to play with the measurements and found that a lot of recipes out there just have too much sugar in their recipe. When we dropped the sugar content from the recipe we finally got the first promising result and I was able to get 3 successful tests in a row. Along with the amount of sugar you put in the recipe, heat also plays a large factor. If you add the starch straight to boiling or even cold water it won’t hold its shape, so you’ll need to add part of it to gelatinize the mixture then make sure you add the rest when the mix isn’t still super hot because you might get shapeless boba. Let’s dive into the kitchen to check out our recipe!
Homemade Boba Recipe
- Small Pot
- Bench Scraper/Knife
- Plastic Wrap/Tupperware
- Kitchen Scale
- Rubber Spatula
- 95g Tapioca Starch, plus extra for dusting
- 30ml Water
- 20g Black/Muscovado Sugar
How to Make Boba at Home Guide
- Combine sugar and water in pot and dissolve sugar on low medium heat, then remove from heat.
- Add in 15g of the tapioca starch into the pot and mix well so there are no lumps. bring back to a medium heat and stir consistently.
- Cook until the mixture is starting to gelatinizing and thickens, then remove from heat.
- Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes to cool down the mix, then add the rest of your tapioca starch.
- Dust some tapioca starch on your work surface, pour your mix on the surface and begin to knead the dough.
- Knead until smooth, roll into a log and cut in half with bench scraper. Wrap 1 of the halves with plastic wrap or place in tupperware so it doesn’t dry out.
- Get a pot of water to boil and spoon a tablespoon of tapioca starch on to your work surface.
- Roll out the other half into a long thin even log (like a worm) and cut into pieces about a fingernails length long. Try to keep pieces as even as possible.
- Roll the pieces in your fingers or hands into balls, then roll the balls onto the pile of starch. Continue shaping all your pieces.
- Place all your boba balls into a strainer and shake to get rid of excess starch, then pour them in the boiling water, stirring the pot until they begin to float (prevents them from sticking to the pot). Cook for 5 minutes on Med-High.
- After 5 minutes, remove from heat and cover, allow it to sit for another 5 minutes.
- Strain the boba and shock in ice water.
- Optionally make a black/brown sugar syrup by heating up 20g sugar and 60ml of water until thickened.
- Make your beverage, add boba, and enjoy!
Photo Step by Step
Apologies we lost half of the beginning photos, but here are the rest.
Tools Used To Make This Dish*
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Camera Gear List*
- Sony A7III
- Sony A7rIII
- Sony SEL2470GM Lens
- Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22
- Deity V-Mic D3
- Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Blue Compass Premium Tube-Style Broadcast Boom Arm
- Sirui ET Series Tripod
- White Balance Card
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