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Make your own mango bubble tea

Henry Dimbleby, guardian.co.uk, Modified: April 19, 2013 13:50 IST

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Make your own mango bubble tea 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 2

2 green tea bags
250ml boiling water
1-2 tbsp honey
1½ litres water
75g large tapioca pearls
Flesh from 1 ripe mango
Juice of 2 oranges
200ml coconut milk

1 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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