How to Cook Tapioca Pearls for the Best Texture

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Getting tapioca pearls to the taught, chewy consistency they taste best at requires timed cooking. On their own, tapioca pearls have a neutral flavor, so you usually mix them with sugar and other flavorings before adding them to desserts and drinks. While tapioca pearls are fairly easy to cook, undercooking renders them tough and fiddicult to chew, and overcooking them makes them too soft.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring cup
  • Large saucepan or stockpot with tight-fitting top
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Slotted spoon
  • Strainer
  • Sugar syrup or brown sugar (optional)
  • Storage bowl or container
  • Airtight container, for storage (optional)

Step 1

Pour 8 times as much water as tapioca pearls in a large pot or saucepan. A four-quart or larger saucepan or stockpot keeps up to 8 cups of water from boiling over during the cooking process. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat on the stove.

Step 2

Add the tapioca pearls to the boiling water. Stir the tapioca pearls with a wooden spoon until they float.

Step 3

Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the tapioca pearls covered over high heat for 6 minutes. Uncover the pan then stir the tapioca pearls and replace the lid. Cook the tapioca pearls over high heat for 6 more minutes.

Step 4

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the tapioca pearls. Cover the pan and allow it to rest off the heat for 20 minutes. Fill a large mixing bowl with half ice and half water.

Step 5

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tapioca pearls from the pan to the ice water. Let the tapioca pearls rest in the ice water until cool, about 10 minutes.

Step 6

Strain the tapioca in a colander and let them drain for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pearls to a bowl or container with a slotted spoon and add sugar syrup or brown sugar to taste, if desired.

Step 7

Serve the tapioca pearls or let them rest for 30 minutes before serving them if you used sugar. Store tapioca pearls in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one week.

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References

  • The Food and Cooking of Korea: Young Jin Song
  • Japanese Food and Cooking: Emi Kazuko, Yasuko Fukuoka
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