This wonderful ube bubble tea brings together the freshness of the famous Tawainese drink with the colour and flavour of purple yam, a staple of Filipino cuisine. It's quick and easy to make, perfect for sipping on a hot day!
For those who aren't familiar with it, bubble tea is a cold drink that originated in Taiwan.
Also known as pearl milk tea, it consists of cold tea mixed with fresh milk and sugar syrup. This blend is then poured into tall glasses with a base of cooked tapioca pearls (boba) and served with ice.
Our recipe includes all the classic boba tea ingredients: cold tea, milk, a sweetener, and tapioca pearls. But instead of using plain milk, we turned it purple using ube!
Purple yam, called ube in Filipino, is a root vegetable with starchy purple flesh. It tastes sweet, nutty, and earthy, and it's used in Filipino cuisine to prepare colourful dishes, sweet and savoury.
When it comes to using ube in recipes, you have three options: fresh purple yams, ube halaya (purple yam jam), or ube extract. They're should all be available at your local Asian food store or online.
For this ube boba tea, fresh purple yams are ideal, but you can also use ube extract. The extract is not as wholesome and natural as fresh purple yams, as it's made with ube flavouring and food colourants, but it will do the job.
In the recipe below, we'll show you how to make purple ube milk using either fresh purple yams or ube extract. So no matter what you find, you will be able to prepare this wonderful bubble tea.
As for the tea base, we chose white tea instead of classic Chinese black tea. That's because white tea has a mellower taste, and it doesn't overpower the flavour of purple yams.
Also, by being lighter than black tea, white tea won't change the colour of the ube milk, so you'll have a perfectly purple bubble tea.
Because we wanted our ube bubble tea recipe to be healthier, lower in sugars, dairy-free, and vegan, we swapped cow's milk with coconut milk drink and caster sugar with maple syrup.
And finally, the tapioca pearls. Fun and deliciously chewy, tapioca pearls are what make bubble tea a bubble tea.
Also called boba, tapioca pearls are made with tapioca starch extracted from the cassava plant. They're available in all sorts of colours at your local Asian food store or online.
They're super easy to prepare and add to your bubble tea. Follow our recipe below, and we'll show you how. Still, if you can't find them or prefer not to use them, you can make ube milk tea without tapioca pearls. It will be just as tasty!
Now, grab your tallest and prettiest glasses out of the cupboard and let's make this ube boba tea together!
And if you're looking for another super colourful boba tea recipe, check out this blue bubble tea with butterfly pea flowers!
- Purple Yams (or ube extract - see recipe)
- Coconut Drink (or any plant-based milk)
- White Tea Bags
- Tapioca Pearls
- Maple Syrup (or honey)
You can make the ube milk with fresh purple yams or ube extract.
For the first option, boil diced ube with milk in a pot for 5 minutes or until the milk turn purple as shown in the picture.
You can simmer the ube for longer for a deeper colour.
Then, filter out the chunks of ube and let the ube milk cool down completely in the fridge.
For the ube extract option instead, just dissolve 4 drops of extract per serving into cold milk, adding more if you like a deeper violet hue.
For the tea, boil the given water, pour it into a bowl or jug and add the tea bags.
We used light and mellow white tea, but you can also use green tea or black tea.
Let the tea steep for 2 minutes, and then remove the bags.
Allow the tea to cool down completely in the fridge.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the tapioca pearls.
As soon as they float to the surface, cover the pot, and cook them for 3 minutes.
Then, turn off the heat and keep the pearls inside the pot for 3 more minutes.
Now, drain the cooking water and add the pearls to a bowl filled with cold water.
Let them cool down for 30 seconds and drain the water again.
Mix the tapioca balls with maple syrup.
To assemble the bubble tea, divide the tapioca balls among tall glasses and pour in the cold white tea.
Then, pour in the cold ube milk and stir well.
Serve your ube bubble tea with ice cubes if you like.
Once prepared, consume the bubble tea within a few hours as the tapioca pearls will harden after a while.