Category Archives: Beverage

Watermelon Boba

Boba drinks (also referred to as bubble tea) are popular refreshing Taiwanese beverages with black tapioca pearls. These dark pearls are the size of little marbles with a chewy, gummy texture and come with oversized straws to accommodate the little balls. The boba pearls are often made of sweet potato starch and provides texture to these drinks. They are served in iced teas, iced coffee, fruit juices, slushies, and smoothies. These drinks are so popular in the San Gabriel Valley, you can find a boba cafe on every other block. Popular boba cafes like Tea Station, Ten Ren, and Half & Half will have lines out the doors on hot summer nights. I’m guilty of waiting in one of those ridiculous lines.

My first introduction to a boba drink was back in the early 1990’s when my friend treated me to a delicious Taiwanese meal. Back then, boba drinks were only available in select restaurants and not in specialty cafés. One of the few places that served boba was a small Taiwanese resaruant called Old Country Café in Alhambra, California. They served delicious Taiwanese food and their specialty drink was the watermelon boba, and I spent many weekends during my college days visiting the Old Country Café. Now that the summer is here and the watermelon is sweet, I thought it would be a perfect time to share my watermelon boba recipe. It tastes just like the ones I’ve had at Old Country Café – refreshing and delicious. Enjoy!

Watermelon Boba

Yield: 6 drinks

1 cup of organic sugar
1 cup of water
1 cup of boba pearls (large tapioca pearls)*
1 small watermelon (or 8 cups of chopped watermelon chunks)
Pinch of sea salt
Ice cubes
Boba straws*

1. To make the simple syrup, add the sugar and 1 cup of water to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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2. To cook the boba, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the water boils, add the boba pearls and give it a gentle stir. Once the boba pearls float to the top, reduce the heat to a simmer.

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3. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Make sure to stir gently so as not to break up the pearls.

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4. Turn off the heat and let sit for about 25 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the water melon juice. Take out the simple syrup from the refrigerator. Add about half of the watermelon pieces, 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the syrup (depending on your preference for sweetness and the ripeness of the watermelon) and a pinch of salt to a blender. Press the smoothie button, or blend until smooth. Pour into a pitcher.

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6. Repeat the process with the remaining watermelon pieces.

7. To assemble, using a handheld strainer, remove the boba out of the water. Divide among 6 large glasses.

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8. Add some ice cubes to each glass.IMG_6086

9. Give the watermelon juice a good stir and pour evenly among the 6 glasses. Add the boba straw and serve.

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*You can find boba pearls and boba straws at most Chinese supermarkets. Note: If you purchase quick cooking boba, follow the instructions on the package.

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Turmeric Almond Milk

Most of us had our fair share of holiday indulgences these past few weeks – overeating, drinking, taking naps and staying indoors to stay warm. Now that the New Year here, it’s time start eating right again and get back into shape. One of the resolutions on my list is to alter my diet and reduce the inflammation in my body. According to my dad, there are many things, both in our diet and environment, that can cause inflammation. He is a raw food vegan and a former Chinese herbalist who treats minor health issues with natural supplements and herbal extracts. Considering that he’s in his mid-70s without any ailments or major pain and isn’t on any medication, I consider him a pretty good source for this type of information. He has given me advice on different food products that help reduce inflammation and he was touting the health benefits of turmeric before it was all the rage.

Many pressed juice companies currently offer an anti-inflammatory drink with turmeric as one of the main ingredients. One of my favorite drinks with turmeric is the “Golden Milk” at Erehwon Natural Foods Market make with almond milk, turmeric, and other spices. It’s creamy and has lovely sweet spices, but it is pricey. Being that I am the recipe sleuth, I created my own version with the same flavor profile at a fraction of the cost. I used to buy my turmeric roots either at the Indian or Asian market but now you can find it at Sprouts and Trader Joe’s. Note that this recipe does require you to soak the almonds overnight, or you can purchase pre-made almond milk at the grocery store – just make sure it’s organic. Here’s to the beginning of a happy and healthy 2017. Enjoy!

Turmeric Almond Milk

Serves 2

2 cups of homemade organic almond milk (recipe below) or unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon of freshly grated turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns, crushed

6 cardamom pods, crushed

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, extra for serving

2 teaspoons of raw honey, optional

Sea salt

Freshly grated black pepper

 

1. In a medium saucepan, add the almond milk, turmeric, peppercorns, cardamom pods and ground cinnamon.

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2. Stir and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Let the spices steep for 5 minutes.

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3. Place a small sieve over a glass bowl with a spout. Pour the steeped almond milk through the strainer. Add the honey if you’re using it.

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4. Divide into 2 serving glasses or cups. Sprinkle some cinnamon, some grated black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Serve immediately.

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Homemade Organic Almond Milk

Yield: 4 1/2 cups

 

1 cup of organic raw almonds

4 1/2 cups of fresh spring water or filtered water

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1. Place the raw almonds, salt, and 2 cups of water in a bowl. Let it sit overnight.

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2. The next day, drain the almonds in a colander and give them a good rinse.

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3. In a large blender, add the almonds and 4 1/2 cups of fresh spring water. Blend on high speed for about until smooth, about 2 minutes. (Make sure your blender can handle all the water and almonds, otherwise, blend in 2 batches.)

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4 . Once the almond milk is ready, pour into a chinois or a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl.

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5. Transfer the almond milk to a glass jug. You can add a little vanilla extract or almond extract for more flavoring. The almond milk keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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