Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio Jelly {vegan}

A Libations, Sweet, Tea post written by on July 29, 2014

Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio Jelly

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“For me, it’s just very hard to be in the world. Whether it’s cooking or writing, you trudge along and it’s hard. You spend most of your time in any kind of creative pursuit mired in this cold, gray, muddy kind of wasteland. And then, every once in a while, you have this moment where something happens that is so extraordinary, so transcendent, that it obliterates all of the tedium of the world. A light so bright that it just wipes out everything else around it. And then it’s gone, and you’re back in that muck again. But that moment of epiphany is so extraordinary that you endure all of the other stuff to find it. The act of pursuing a moment of creativity is itself obliterating because it’s all-consuming. Anything that you don’t want to think about then is pushed away, because all you can do is pursue this one thing. It’s a very effective way of not being in the world.” – Daniel Patterson, Chef, @Coi

Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio Jelly

Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio Jelly

This post of photos and recipes came about as a collaboration with Nik of A Brown Table and Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet. Please visit their site and say hello.

Alanna sent me an email introduction during one of those tempestuous months of spring  when I had swallowed more than my share of dramas and heartache – at the time, I had hardly expected to find myself, eventually, sitting in her living room, sharing personal stories about my life, eating from her bowls, drinking from her glassware, and feeling sated from the blessings of new culinary friendships. During our first meeting, she flattered me with questions about book publishing emails and I shared my experience using only inexperience, then boldly dishing out too much advice since I was drinking wine. She then paid for my rose while having none, which made me want to follow her, and her blog, to the ends of the internet!

The thing is, she also opened her door to Nik as well – is there a food blogger this woman is not willing to endure? We three made a Saturday of food blogging banter to the taste of Alanna-made snacks and libations – a day pilfering through her boxes and shelves filled with plates, pots, and saucers – all after she volunteered to demonstrate the long, tedious process of making pistachio milk while I made cheap jokes about squeezing nut milk sacks, and then, mischievously taunting her cat with my mickey mouse waffles for an aggressive camera. It’s a miracle we even remembered to feed the cat. Luckily, we did because her ginger cat knows a cute thing or two about reaching for silver spoons.

 

Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio JellyThen I skipped town to lay on beach, testing my luck against sunburns, unsuccessfully, before returning, remembering that I was supposed to share these photos, this recipe, and the aggravating, repeated failure they induced.

It’s hard to think of failure when I’m on a beach,  because failure, if I so choose, can be a terrible way to spice up my life, but back in my kitchen it’s like a constant companion, a reminder of the banality of life, an uphill followed by another uphill, repetitious, never-ending, fatiguing, unrelenting, … should it end?

Frustration. That’s my cooking in a nutshell. I burn things. Constantly. Last week I burned various things on three consecutive days, which, I know, is still unimpressive historically, so when I am telling you I tried making this pistachio jelly no less than 4 times, you shouldn’t be surprised. It’s likely due to the fact that I think I should do ten things simultaneously rather than in succession, but I cook optimistically, too optimistic, and I think, erroneously, that I can decrease the stress of life by adding on more. If there’s a thing to decrease my failure rate, surely it is choosing to lay down the other details of life in order to cook, which I know is my ultimate peace. Cooking is meditation – hours sitting and watching the progression of water dissolving rice into soothing, milky porridge or tomatoes and sugar reducing into viscous jam – meditation, medication for my lack of impatience – time trickles so I run away to speed it up by doing other things, which is when things fall apart, even under low heat, because that’s when it’s likely to devolve into muck, take my word of warning…

Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio JellyLychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio Jelly

The hope, as always, is that I’ve experienced the trappings of dreamed-up failure for you – so that you can take this idea of a recipe and make it, hopefully, with less failure than I, that is, you should do this without checking your email, and not while reading and writing internet articles, or just being less mentally distracted with a litany of non-food work. You should make this recipe, as any other edible thing, while being fully immersed in the idea of jelly – but you probably won’t, as I did not, because it’s the timbre of life, and when you do make a mistake or two, read a thing wrong, or, maybe the jelly-gods did not smile favorably upon your kitchen, just know, I am commiserating in advance. I know all about the baggage of the perfectly imperfect. That’s why this recipe works in our favor. There’s a whole host of flavor combinations that I love using ingredients I couldn’t bear to live without.  If you haven’t made your own nut-milk, pistachio is a good place to start since it is a sippable silk. It’s not typically available in stores, probably due to the high cost of pistachio nuts – surely  squeezing labor should not go towards mediocre nuts!

In case you were curious – we began this jelly recipe with similar proportions of agar agar to milk as this buttermilk panna cotta. Doing so gave us a nearly solid, silky custard of pistachio. That’s certainly worth trying as it is incredible on its own. As a jelly for Boba, however, it fails to hold itself together in the tea, which is why we had to gradually increase the agar ratio for the final recipe which has the firmer texture, but not chewy nature as typical tapioca boba.

Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio JellyLychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio Jelly

 

 

To make Pistachio milk: courtesy of Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet

2 cups raw, hulled pistachios

+ The night before, soak in cool water 8 hours.
+ Drain, rinse, and blend with 4 cups cool water until smooth – approximately 3 minutes on medium-high. Strain through a nut sack. This recipe makes ~5 cups of milk.

 

To make pistachio jelly:

1 c water
4 ts agar agar flakes*
3/4  cup sugar
1 cup pistachio milk
pinch of salt

+ Prepare for the jelly mold by setting aside a mesh strainer and a small glass loaf pan.
+ Stir sugar, pistachio milk, and salt until sugar is completely dissolved.
+ Agar agar will only dissolve in water and it will set at room temperature – almost immediate upon cooling. So, when doing this, mix and strain your jelly mixture quickly. To do so, boil water and agar until agar is dissolved, whisking constantly, about 5 minutes.
+ Then, whisk hot, dissolved agar agar water into milk mixture. Or, you can also use a blender to get a better consistency.  Strain immediately through a sieve and into a glass loaf pan. Chill until firm.

 

 

To make fresh lychee tea: special thanks to Nik for bringing a bag of fresh lychees! 
For every cup of tea, 3 fresh, peeled, deseeded lychees
1 c. hot water
1 generous teaspoon of tea (use loose leaf if you can, as those can be reboiled)

+ Muddle the lychee with a fork to release its juices. Then, add tea and boiled water to brew. Use your tea’s brewing instruction to do so – most are for 3-5 minutes. Strain when it’s done brewing and allow to chill.
+ Then, add a touch of milk and season with rose water – a small drop or two should suffice. Add more if you want it stronger, but be careful or the lychee flavor will get lost. If your lychees are not the right amount of sweetness, you will also need to sweeten your tea at this time.

 

To serve:

In each glass, add some chunks of jelly with ice and tea. Serve with a large straw.

 

* To make a panna cotta, use 1 ts of agar to 5 TB of water. You might want to season the pistachio milk with rosewater and cardamom prior to adding the agar.

 





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28 Responses to “Lychee & Rose Boba With Pistachio Jelly {vegan}”

  1. I love that quote at the beginning of your post. Also, re: failure — gah, tell me about it. Some of the recipes you see on my site are the result of many burned/sunken/explosive cakes, hours of washing dishes by hand, and tears of frustration all in the pursuit of that perfect combination of ingredients.

  2. I was wondering when I would see this post ever since I saw all three of you on Nik’s IG working together 🙂
    What a wonderful collaboration, and you are so right about Alanna 🙂

  3. I was wondering when I would see this post ever since I saw all three of you on Nik’s IG working together 🙂
    What a wonderful collaboration, and you are so right about Alanna 🙂

  4. I can so relate to everything you write. The heartache, the feeling of failure, the frustration. I am going through all that too, and it is so beautiful to be able to share moments of your life with nice people during these times. But I don’t think that two troubled souls, if able to understand each other, can help each other much, so I can honestly say: you are one of the most amazing inspiring souls in this oceanic internet. I am glad I found you in this puddle of drifting lives. My dream is to go back where people like you are. I made it a goal for the year 2015 to come visit you, if you want me around for a couple days 🙂 and I’d pay for a whole bottle of rose for you and you can drink it and, because it’s in good company, I could end up having some too.
    So envious of Nik and Alanna! I’m glad you guys ended up together and came up with this. The point is: you did nail the jelly in the end, right? that’s what matters.

    I hate tapioca bubbles, but pistachio jelly could totally work…

    Sending you lots of <3

    (PS: why is the ISO so insanely high?!)

    • phi says:

      🙂 The human #fails in this post is quite consistent, which, I think has its merits, somewhere, maybe in one of those art papers.

  5. Oh gosh how much I loved this post; your words & thoughts about life and failure; these photos; this recipe. Really, I could read this over and over again. xoxo

  6. Kimberly@TLP says:

    Oh how I’ve been waiting for this post and it doesn’t disappoint. I just keep asking myself how can 3 people make something so beautiful? Creativity is an amazing thing huh? And your talent behind the camera is awe inspiring. Thank you as always for sharing.
    P.S. Am SO making pistachio milk Shall keep you posted how it turns out 😉

  7. I had something very similar in Taipei back in 1982- not the listachi jelly but a delicate Lychee tea served at a stall next to the airport whilst we awaited a connecting flight to HK. I have never had it since but now I am going to make it in an attempt to wean myself off too much diet Coke drinking.

  8. I had something very similar in Taipei back in 1982- not the Pistachio jelly but a delicate Lychee tea served at a stall next to the airport whilst we awaited a connecting flight to HK. I have never had it since but now I am going to make it in an attempt to wean myself off too much diet Coke drinking.

  9. I had something very similar in Taipei back in 1982- not the listachi jelly but a delicate Lychee tea served at a stall next to the airport whilst we awaited a connecting flight to HK. I have never had it since but now I am going to make it in an attempt to wean myself off too much diet Coke drinking.

    Apologies if this comment has been duplicated- I am not sure if it has posted correctly.

  10. carey says:

    Oh the number of things I have burned/destroyed/not gotten right due to my flighty attention span… It’s a wonder I haven’t burnt down my apartment yet. It took me probably a half dozen bouts of cooking sugar into various forms to learn that you do not turn your back on sugar over heat ever ever ever. Also, one time I drank a lot of coffee in the morning and then decided to roast up some seeds I’d removed from a pumpkin the day before. Then I drank more coffee and forgot about them, dropped a friend off at the airport, and decided to go to the store. I walked up my stairs wondering what the terrible smell was, then realized and ran up the rest of the stairs.

    So you definitely are not alone, in that regard or others. You and I would have a great time hanging out, drinking all the wine, and making lowbrow jokes about nut milk sacks and the like. (:

    • phi says:

      Oh man, miss Carey, let’s make this happen? Minus the burning parts, because I have so much experience with that and so little time with you!

  11. What inspiring words, it is good to know that I am also not alone. These shots are beautiful, I love how you all came together to create something beautiful and delicious.

  12. Blogger friendships are definitely some of the best kind. I love this.

  13. Valerie says:

    I burn, fume…destroy; it’s, all of it, exquisitely cathartic (especially the post gin & tonics).
    oh, we have the same filthy/sweet mind – who can resist calling out a nut sack? 😉

    Brill post! The photos, the quote, the words. Love your avant garde Ivy League cornor of the food blogosphere. xo

  14. Valeria says:

    I can so relate with you – the feeling of failure, frustration, distraction, of being overwhelmed with too much of everything. The kitchen becomes a solacing place every time I feel any of these ways. Rose helps along the way definitely, and so does the company of good, likeminded friends.

  15. Joyti says:

    Such a lovely post – the recipe and the photographs and the writing. I’m jealous of your blogger friendships – they sound like great fun. Wine and dirty jokes and all 🙂

  16. Melissa says:

    I absolutely know the feeling of failure and have to remind myself that for every day I destroy things, another day will come with brighter horizons. Yesterday I burned three desserts in the oven, working simultaneously as you do. Needless to say, there were no posts about baked things.

  17. Romy says:

    Anything made with lychees are brilliant in book. A must try!

  18. THAT CAT. Lovely post – sometimes you do have to burn some things before you get it right, and it must have paid off because this is so beautiful and amazing! I love that quote from Chef Patterson as well.

  19. The photography is too beautiful and how delicious the flavours sound!

  20. Sally says:

    Really a wonderful read loved the intro thank you.

  21. Elenore says:

    I love that you share this…. I’ve read it once before but just popped by your site again because…. well your pictures are OUTRAGOUSLY gorgeous! 😉 ..and so I had to read this post again. A beautiful reminder that it’s in the collaborations and the moments of opening up to one another that the magic happens. Where the light seeps in and where grand things start.

    Thank you. Again.

    Hope you are enjoying Spain so much! Eat a ton of figs for me, will ya?

  22. This sounds so amazing! I’m always obsessed with milk tea with boba. Now I know I can make my own version at home. Thanks for the recipe!

  23. […] If only Tapioca Express served up these babies. […]

  24. […] Check out Phi’s post, including the recipe and her exquisite photographs and writing, here.  Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow me on Facebook, […]

  25. […] Check out Phi’s post, including the recipe and her exquisite photographs and writing, here.  Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow me on Facebook, […]

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