If at first you don't succeed, Boba, Boba again

So if you have been following this blog for a while you know that I have been trying to perfect a lower calorie healthier version of the Boba fruit and tea drinks common in Vietnamese restaurants. What I learned as I did research was that the boba beads are pearls of tapioca (made from casava root) that have been boiled until chewy (like a gummy bear) and then soaked in a solution of sugar syrup until they absorb the sweetness. This accounts for the high calorie content on the beads. The other primary ingredient in these drinks is usually sweetened condensed milk and possibly a powdered creamer - also very high in calories. Sweetened condensed milk is scary high. So I tried a few lighter variations.

First I made a low fat, sugar free version of sweetened condensed milk using a recipe I found that included powdered skim milk, Splenda and water. This was not quite the flavor I was seeking. The powdered milk gave it that, well, powdered milk taste that I am not really fond of. I also went on a quest to find the large Boba pearls. Today we went to Dong A Market in Orlando - a local Asian market - where I found them. As a side note this place is amazing and I could have wandered around for hours looking at everything they had. If anyone has a suggestion for how to use real cinnamon bark - the kind that's the size of a rolling pin let me know because I now have a bag of that in my kitchen too.

Anyway, with the Boba pearls in hand I tried one more time to come up with a healthy alternative. So here is what I did and I must say it was a winner. First I boiled the Boba per the package directions for 5 minutes. Then I removed them from the hot water and put them aside in a bowl and covered them with Torani Sugar Free syrup. I used a combination of vanilla & caramel because that is what I had on hand. I let them steep in the syrup for about an hour & 1/2 while we ate dinner. Later I took 2 cups of watermelon, 4 Tbsp of fat free evaporated milk, 2 cups of crushed ice and Splenda to taste (about 1/4 cup) and blended them together. I filled the bottom of two glasses with the syrup soaked Boba pearls and poured in the watermelon mixture. The result was a very authentic tasting beverage with the fun of the chewy sweet boba pearls and very few calories. Marty gave it the thumbs up.

The bag said that a serving of Boba was 1/3 of a cup for 110 calories. But we actually found this amount to be overkill. Half that amount would have been more than enough. In that case you are looking at a drink that would have a cup of watermelon (40 cal), 2 tbsp of fat free evaporated milk (25 cal) and about 55 cal worth of Boba pearls. Compare that to the restaurant version that can vary from 400 to 1000 calories per glass and I would say that's a pretty good savings!


Watermelon Boba Drink

Leftover from Mykonos, Longwood FL

Salmon, Mixed veggies with light feta crumble , lima beans, bread & Olive Oil

Mid-afternoon Treat
Seven Sisters Coffee House, Orlando FL

Wild Woman Chocolate, Orlando FL

Iced light Coffee Latte
Chocolate samples and blueberry cardamon truffle

Virgin Olive Market, Orlando Fl

1/2 Curry Chicken wrap on whole wheat
Maui Onion potato chips
Ice Tea


Soft boiled egg on light English Muffin with onion & tomato
Cup of fresh fruit
Coffee with 1% milk


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