“Lovely Lady” Special Bubble Tea
Dessert Dynasty introduced bubble tea to Metro Vancouver, and this drink culture subsequently exploded across the city when a massive influx of immigrants from Taiwan, where bubble tea originated, landed in the Lower Mainland. Dessert Dynasty may not be a fancy place, but it still serves the most original bubble teas.
The bubbles in bubble tea are often chewy “pearls” made with tapioca or sago flour. And the “tea” can be any variety or even fruit drinks of any flavour. This recipe uses basil seeds, which are loaded with antioxidants with anti-cancer properties and resemble tiny pearls when soaked, and kanten, which is an agar-agar that’s high in fibre but free of fat and cholesterol.
Purchase basil seeds and premade kanten in its jelly form in Asian markets, or make your own by bringing 2 cups (500 mL) water to a boil on high and adding 1-1/2 oz (43 g) kanten powder. Boil uncovered for a couple of minutes, stirring gently, until kanten dissolves and becomes liquid. Pour into a 4-inch square pan, allow to cool for 15 minutes and refrigerate, covered, for 2 to 3 hours until it solidifies to a jelly-like consistency.
- 2 tsp (10 mL) basil seeds
- 16 oz (475 mL) watermelon juice
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) white sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) ice chips
- 2 oz (60 g) premade kanten jelly, in 1/4-inch cubes
- 3 oz (90 g) seeded watermelon, in 1/2-inch cubes
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups (500 mL) water to a gentle boil on high heat. Add basil seeds and immediately turn off the heat. Allow seeds to soak for 5 minutes or until they become translucent. Pour seeds into a colander, drain and rinse under cold running water for 90 seconds. Transfer seeds to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
In a blender, combine watermelon juice, sugar, and ice chips and blend on high for 60 to 90 seconds. Evenly divide kanten jelly, basil seeds, and watermelon cubes among 3 or 4 large, tall glasses. Pour watermelon juice over the jelly and serve ice cold.
Yield: 3 to 4 cups
Adapted from East Meets West: Traditional and Contemporary Asian Dishes from Acclaimed Vancouver Restaurants by Stephanie Yuen (Douglas & McIntyre 2012). Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.