Hah! You would think making a simple thirst quencher like the popular Honeydew Sago would be a cinch, right? Wrong!
Well, that is, if you decide to use the large tapioca pearls! Not having cooked them before, I naively thought that cooking the large tapioca pearls would be as easy as the normal small tapioca pearls. No, no, no… It took me two days! My oh my, it was a labour of love…
To start from the beginning, I saw the recipe in one of my Chinese cookbook using the large tapioca pearls for this syrupy snack, and I thought it would be nice for a change from the tiny ones. So off I went and bought a packet of the large pearls.
Now the problem started. In the cookbook, it said to soak the pearls in cold water for about 15 minutes then cook until the pearls are translucent, but not giving any hint of how long to cook for. However the instructions on the packet I bought said to steep the pearls in boiling water for an hour then cook for about 10 minutes until they float, then soak in cold water. After making the decision to follow the instructions on the packet, I went ahead and did the steeping, cooking and soaking. After the cooking, only a thin layer on the outside of the pearls was translucent and about 70 to 80% of the inside were all still white. Not thinking too much about it, I drained them and poured them into a bowl of cold water to soak, believing they might soaked through and turned translucent.
Of course that did not transpired! After one hour of soaking, they remained the same. It was then too late in the night to continue and I could not be bothered to start boiling them again as I have no idea how much longer that was going to take, so I placed the pearls still soaking in the water straight into the refrigerator overnight. The next night, I took out the half cooked pearls, drained and tipped back into a saucepan of boiling water to continue cooking. This time, I was determined to boil them until the cows come home, or until they all turned translucent! Now take a guess how long that took!
The cooked tapioca pearls.
Nearly two hours! Finally! Wow, what a big task for just a cup of tapioca pearls to cook…