Henry Dimbleby, guardian.co.uk, Modified: April 19, 2013 13:50 IST
Bring the taste of Taiwan into your home with this fun and fruity tapioca tea.
I first tried mango bubble tea - a Taiwanese invention of the 1980s - in a backstreet cafe in Hong Kong about 20 years ago. It was so surprising it almost made me jump.
The drink is a sweet mixture of fruit juice and tea, sometimes with milk. The surprise is the balls of tapioca at the bottom - normally the colour of blackcurrants, but often translucent (hence the alternative name, pearl tea). Most shops serve it with a fat straw, through which you can suck the chewy balls.
It is a deliciously childish concoction which would make even the most determined miserabilist grin. And it's not just for kids. I recently brought some home from a Vietnamese supermarket as a treat for my children only to find that my wife had guiltily hoovered up the lot without offering them a single slurp.
If you feel like cutting your children in on this recipe, it would make a perfect back-to-school treat after half term. Better still, wait till April when the first scented alphonso mangoes arrive from India. Some years ago I opened my front door to find my mum standing on the step holding two of these waxy beauties triumphantly aloft and trilling: "They're here!"
A bubble tea would have been the perfect way to capitalise on her childlike enthusiasm.
Make your own mango bubble tea
Serves 22 green tea bags250ml boiling water1-2 tbsp honey1½ litres water75g large tapioca pearlsFlesh from 1 ripe mangoJuice of 2 oranges200ml coconut milk1
Place the teabags in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the bags before stirring in the honey. Set aside to cool and refrigerate until chilled.2
Bring 1½ litres of water to the boil. Add the tapioca and reduce the heat to a simmer for 50 minutes, until the tapioca is tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.3
Using a stick blender or liquidiser, blend together the mango flesh with the orange juice and coconut milk.4
Mix the mango liquid with the tea water and the tapioca. Serve in tall glasses with straws.• Recipe by Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of the healthy fast-food restaurant chain Leon (@henry_leon)Mango bubble tea. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian
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