Watermelon Bubble Tea
Culinary Institute of America
St. Helena, Calif.
Bubble tea is making a comeback just in time for summer. The traditional Vietnamese version uses large tapioca pearls or “boba” to create the effect. At the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, the kitchen substitutes small watermelon spheres for the boba to mimic the look and experience of bubble tea. It makes for a refreshing snack that is more satisfying than a simple beverage but just as refreshing.
1 slab red watermelon slice (6 by 6 inches and ½-inch thick)
1 yellow watermelon slice (6 by 6 inches and ½-inch thick)
4 cups watermelon juice
4 cups water
½ cup green tea leaves
¾ cup condensed milk
1½ to 2 cups ice
4 fresh mint sprigs
- Place watermelon slabs into cryovac bags and compress at 99%. Remove from bags.
- With a small knife or miniature melon baller, scoop out watermelon “boba” into ¼-inch balls to measure 1 cup. Puree and strain remaining watermelon scraps.
- Place 4 cups of this watermelon juice into a saucepan. Over high heat, bring to a boil and reduce by half, skimming off any foam that forms. In another saucepan, combine 4 cups water and green tea leaves; over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and strain. Cool slightly.
- In a pitcher filled with ice, add the reduced watermelon juice, tea, and condensed milk. Mix vigorously.
- Pour the watermelon tea into two glasses. Place ½ cup watermelon “boba” into each glass. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Photograph courtesy of National Watermelon Board