Tag Archives: food

Bubble Tea Madness!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve probably noticed by now my obsession with all things green tea and taro.  On one glorious morning last week, my cousin and I happened across a new dessert spot near Ala Moana (Honolulu).  I ordered a taro milk tea with green tea bubbles.  The smiley man behind the counter at Bambu Desserts and Drinks did not disappoint.

This was, hands down, the best bubble tea I’ve ever had, and I grew up in Hawaii and lived in Asia as an adult for several years.  The people at Bambu don’t use sugary pre-made powders to make their taro bubble tea, oh no.  They actually boil taro root themselves and blend it into the tea for a healthier, richer experience.  If you’re in the ‘hood, I highly suggest checking it out!

And if you don’t happen to live in Honolulu, here’s an easy recipe for making bubble tea at home from TheKichn.com!

How to Make Boba and Bubble Tea

What You Need


1/4 cup dried boba tapioca pearls per serving (NOT quick-cooking boba)
1-2 tea bags per serving, any kind
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Milk, almond milk, or sweetened condensed milk
Fruit juice or nectar (optional)


Bowl for holding the cooked boba
Measuring cups


1. Cook the Boba: Measure 2 cups of water for every 1/4 cup of boba being prepared into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the boba and stir gently until they begin floating to the top of the water.

Turn the heat to medium and cook the boba for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let the pearls sit for another 12-15 minutes.

2. Prepare Sugar Syrup for the Boba: While the boba are cooking, make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten and preserve them once cooked. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil over high heat on the stove or in the microwave. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

3. Prepare a Strong Cup of Tea: This can be done either while the boba are cooking or ahead of time. Allow enough time for the tea to cool completely before making the boba. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea bag. Use one tea bag for regular-strength bubble tea or two for a stronger tea flavor. Remove the tea bag after 15 minutes and chill the tea.

4. Finish the Boba: Once the boba have finished cooking, drain them from the water and transfer them to a small bowl or container. Pour the sugar syrup over top until the boba are submerged. Let sit until the boba are room temperature, at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.

5. Make the Bubble Tea: Pour the prepared tea into a tall glass and add the boba. Add milk for a creamy bubble tea, juice for a fruity tea, or leave plain and add a little extra water. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup from soaking the boba.

Additional Notes:

Very Chilled Bubble Tea: For an extra-chilly bubble tea, combine all the tea, milk, and/or juice, but not the boba in a cocktail shaker. Add a few ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds. Pour into a tall glass and add the boba.

Shortcut Boba: If you want immediate gratification, just cook your boba until they are tender, 5 to 10 minutes, and use them as soon as they’re cool. This kind of boba don’t keep for very long (turning rock hard in a few hours), but are delicious if eaten right away.

Saving Leftover Boba and Making Boba for Later: Boba are best if used within a few hours of cooking, but will keep refrigerated with simple syrup for several days. The boba will gradually harden and become crunchy as they sit.


Banh Mi, Baby

Looking through some past blogs, Vietnamese food seems to pop up pretty often.  After being treated to some lovely Vietnamese at Greenwich Village’s Saigon Shack the other day, I had to post a recipe for one of my favorite dishes of all time: the Banh Mi sandwich.  Equal parts French and Vietnamese, this is a sandwich that promises to ignite your taste buds.  If you’ve never tried one before, it might sound a bit out there – but you never know until you try (and believe me, it’s worth it!).  You may even find yourself making your own unique version of banh mi at home.


Banh Mi Recipe from Viet World Kitchen

For each sandwich:

1 petit baguette roll or a 7-inch section cut from a regular length baguette, purchased or homemade
Mayonnaise, real (whole egg) or homemade mayonnaise
Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce
Your choice of boldly-flavored meat or tofu, sliced and at room temperature
3 or 4 thin seeded cucumber strips, pickling or English variety preferred
2 or 3 cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
3 or 4 thin jalapeño pepper slices
Everyday Daikon and Carrot Pickle (do chua)

1. Slit the bread lengthwise, and then use your fingers or a bread knife to hollow out the insides, making a trough in both halves. Discard the insides or save it for another use, such as breadcrumbs. If necessary, crisp up the bread in a toaster oven preheated to 325ºF, and then let it cool for a minute before proceeding.

2. Generously spreading the inside with mayonnaise. Drizzle in some Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce. Start from the bottom portion of bread to layer in the remaining ingredients. (As with all sandwiches, you’ll eventually develop an order for layering the filling so as to maximize the interaction between flavors and textures.) Close the sandwich, cut it in half crosswise for easy eating, and enjoy.

Related information:

Homemade Vietnamese baguette (banh mi)
Easy mayonnaise  (sot mayonnaise)
Daikon and Carrot Pickle (do chua)
Grilled lemongrass pork (thit heo nuong xa)
Meatball banh mi sandwich (banh mi xa xiu)
Quick Char Siu Pork
(on Asiandumplingtips.com, my other site)
Roasted Pork Belly sandwich (thit heo quay)
Check the recipe index for more filling ideas!

Posts on banh mi innovations
Banh mi incarnations from all over the world
Banh mi craze in New York City

Creamy Truffle Sauce of the Gods

I just had one of the best thin crust pizzas of my life at Numero 28 in the East Village – perfectly crusty bottom, a warm soft center, loads of mushrooms, speck, and the key ingredient: a decadent creamy truffle sauce. You might just want to bathe in it, it’s just that good.

Gonna have to take a few moments to appreciate what they’ve done there.  In the meantime, if you’re feeling inspired, here’s a Truffle Cream Sauce recipe from the Food Network….

5 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 cups canola oil
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 ounces truffle oil
1 1/4 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
French fries, for serving
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Whisk the eggs yolks with 1 teaspoon water in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk the canola oil into the eggs until an emulsion forms. Slowly add 1/2 cup lukewarm water and the lemon juice when the emulsion becomes too thick.

Make sure the sauce is creamy and fully emulsified before adding the truffle oil. Whisk in the truffle oil and add the salt and pepper. Add more water until the sauce turns off-white in color and has the consistency of ketchup. Taste for seasoning and acid, and add salt and lemon juice accordingly.

Serve on top of fresh, hot French fries tossed with a little salt and pepper, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Cook’s Note: All the ingredients should be at room temperature to prevent the sauce from breaking. The sauce should be creamy and not too runny.

Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/truffle-cream-sauce-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Sugar Enhances the Stupid. Omega-3s Bring on the Smart.

Just about every health magazine and column has offered up an article on the benefits of eating omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in chia and flax seeds, and – wait for it – the oil of a bearded seal.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to just pop a pill and know you’d be in brainiac mode all day?

These points I’ve heard and pondered before, but in an article from Alice G. Walton over at Forbes (I subscribe to her feed, not the magazine), we’re introduced to a recent study from UCLA that also shows how sugar could actually make us dumber.  In the case of rat subjects, problem solving skills took a measurable plunge when given a diet higher in fructose over the course of 6 weeks.

And how did the omega-3 rodents compare?  Read on to find out …

Though we may not have fully come to terms with it, in theory we know that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an adversary of health. Lots of work has been done looking at the effect of fructose on weight, liver function, diabetes risk, and even the growth of cancer cells. But not much has looked at the role of fructose in brain function, until now. Researchers have just reported that among the list of bodily ills that fructose contributes to, it may also “make you dumb.” Luckily, eating a diet rich in the healthy omega-3 fatty acids seems to counteract this phenomenon.

In the new study, UCLA researchers had rats spend a few days learning to navigate a maze. Then some of the rats ate diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids or deficient in them; some rats also drank a fructose solution in the place of their regular drinking water. After six weeks on their respective diets, the team put the rats back in the maze to see how well they recalled it.

Asian Southern Greens Fusion Recipe

Today I give full thanks to this new concoction I threw together, voracious after teaching three hours of yoga.  It’s easy and full of healthful goodness, I hope you’ll enjoy …


1. Boil the following ingredients for about 10-15 minutes (or until the texture is just as you like it):

  • half a pound of southern greens (collard, mustard, turnip, spinach)
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • a few sprigs of chopped green onions
  • a sprinkling of jalapeno peppers
  • black sesame seeds
  • black or white pepper
  • vegetable stock (or some meaty flavor, if you prefer)
  • just enough water to boil so you won’t need to drain at the end (about 2 cups)

2. While that’s all cooking, chop up an avocado

3. Serve with the avocado on top and sprinkle with olive oil, sesame oil and hot sauce to taste.


Now that’s some oishii fusion 😀