Made with real mashed taro root instead of powder, this taro milk tea recipe is creamy, easy to make, and oh so refreshing.
What is taro
Taro is a starchy root vegetable with a mild sweet taste and is a common staple in South Asian, Oceanic and African cuisines. It grows in the subtropical parts of Asia and is called “the potato of the tropics.”
Taro has a brown rough skin and depending upon where it was cultivated the flesh can be light purple, beige, or light pink. You can find fresh taro root in most Asian markets.
This drink is not naturally purple. Boba shops will often make it with a powder, which includes purple coloring, instead of the root. If they do use taro root an additional food coloring is added.
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For this recipe, I added a spoonful of organic purple sweet potato food coloring. You don’t need to add purple coloring, but it is how most people are used to seeing this drink.
As this nickname suggests, people eat taro like they do potatoes- boiled, mashed, fried, and roasted. Additionally people use taro root in deserts, drinks, and smoothies.
What is taro milk tea
Taro milk tea, or taro bubble tea, with a cold drink made of blended up root, a sweetener, and milk served with tapioca pearls. Milk tea and bubble tea can be used interchangeably.
The pureed taro root acts as a thickener and provides a slight sweetness. Most bubble tea shops use powder instead of fresh taro root and it’s still very delicious.
Boba taro milk tea is very popular in Taiwan.
Fresh taro milk tea actually contains no real ‘tea’ at all- just cooked and the pureed root and milk blended together. However, it is common to add a little jasmine or black tea if you prefer a slight tea taste.
What is taro milk tea made of
This tasty beverage is traditionally made of the mashed root, milk, a sweetener and tapioca pearls and contains no actual tea. Although many boba shops add jasmine or black tea.
Most bubble tea shops make this drink from a powder. Taro milk tea powder is made from the dried and ground root and still makes for a delicious drink.
How to make taro milk tea from taro root
The first step to this is to prepare the root. Peel and cube the taro into small chunks. To cook the taro, you have one of two options- use your microwave or boil on a stovetop.
Place the cubed taro in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
Alternatively, place the taro in a small bowl with a splash of water. Microwave in minute increments until soft. Strain the cooked taro and mash into a smooth paste.
Next, bring a pot of water to a boil and add your tapioca pearls. Boil for about 5 – 7 minutes or until they begin to float.
Strain the tapioca pearls into a bowl and mix with some sugar.
In a blender, combine milk, sweetened condensed milk, a couple spoonfuls of the root paste, purple sweet potato powder, and jasmine tea if using. Pour over the tapioca pearls and lots of ice.
What does taro milk tea taste like
It has a slightly sweet, light, and nutty flavor. Some compare the taste of taro to sweet potato but with vanilla undertones.
In terms of taro vs. ube, ube is sweet and common in Filipino desserts. On the other hand, taro is less sweet, more earthy, and nutty.
Is taro milk tea good for you
Taro root is high in dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and essential vitamins like A, C, and E. On the other hand, this drink does contain sweetened condensed milk which is high in sugar.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat after a meal, you could try this blueberry milkshake, which could be made vegan if you wanted!
Is taro milk tea safe during pregnancy
In general, taro, taro root, and boba are all safe to consume while pregnant. Taro root does contain high levels of oxalate which can lead to kidney stones.
The cooking process denatures the oxalates in taro, so the risks are relatively low.
Is taro milk tea caffeinated
Taro boba is made traditionally with only milk and taro does not contain caffeine. However, most boba shops add in black tea or jasmine tea, which do contain caffeine.
Taro Milk Tea
- 1 Blender
- 100 grams cubed and peeled taro root
Brown sugar boba
- ½ cup tapioca pearls
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 cups milk of choice, we use soy
- 3 – 4 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup jasmine or black tea
- 2 tbsp purple sweet potato powder
To make the taro paste
- Place the peeled and cubed taro root into 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes until fork tender. Strain the taro and mash in a bowl until there are no lumps.
- Alternatively, place the taro in a bowl with a splash of water and microwave in minute increments until tender. Mash until there are no clumps.
Brown sugar boba
- Add tapioca pearls to a pot of boiling water. Cover the pot and cook for 3 minutes. Next, turn the heat off, remove from burner, and let cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar and 2 tbsp of water to pot. Bring to a simmer and whisk until sugar has dissolved, about 1 -2 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar syrup and strained tapioca pearls to a glass or bowl and mix.
To make milk tea
- In a blender, combine cooked taro paste, milk, sweetened condensed milk, tea and purple sweet potato powder if using. Blend until smooth.
- Place a few spoonfuls of tapioca pearls and place at the bottom of a glass. Top with ice. Pour the taro milk tea over.