Thursday, Nov 11th, 2010
Recently I had taro pearls in a Taiwanese bubble tea place and felt in love with them. While I was in high school, I had a period of time where I was addicted to taro flavoured food like crackers, buns and ice cream which can be readily found in Chinese supermarkets. Taro is the perfect match with that sticky and chewy texture that I like so much.
At first I thought this texture can only come from glutinous rice flour but after looking at the recipe for taro pearls, I found that it can also be achieved with the right ratio of sweet potato flour and tapioca starch.
The recipe I found in Chinese required a scale which I don’t have so I just did a little of math and experimentation and here’s my recipe with measuring cups, as long as you use the same bowls/whatever container you have, it should be the same ratio.
Steamed taro, mashed up “rustically” (so there are pieces of taro in the pearls) – 2.5 cups
Sweet potato flour (the English translation might be wrong on the packaging and it might say tapioca starch instead so just look for these Chinese characters on the safe side “地瓜粉”) – 1 cup
Tapioca starch (the Chinese – “太白粉”) – 1/3 cup
White sugar – 2 tbsp
First, mix the taro, sweet potato flour, tapioca starch, white sugar well together with your hands and then dig a hole in the middle and start adding a little spoonful of water until it goes into a ball of dough. It will take about 5 minutes or a little longer depending on how fluffy your taro is (the more moisture the stickier the dough). Once you have formed a dough that doesn’t stick to your hands with all the ingredients, grab a little piece of dough and roll it on a surface lightly floured with some sweet potato flour into a little log the width of ring finger, then you can cut it into little small pieces with a knife.
The beauty of these taro pearl is that you can let it boil in a sweet red bean soup or just in Chinese cane sugar crystals and water and eat. Drop them into the boiling liquid and wait for them to float to the surface then you know they are ready, it takes about 5 minutes but you can cook it a little longer for a slightly softer texture.
It’s comforting to eat these little taro pearls in a sweet soup in this rainy and cold weather. Enjoy!