Cold Ginger, Vanilla & Lemon Tea with Tapioca

I discovered tapioca after searching endlessly for sago in Italy.  I thought they were the same, the first being the English term of sago when apparently, sago comes from sago palms and tapioca comes from manioc (cassava).  They look and taste the same so you can't blame me for the confusion I grew up with. 

After a week-long stay in Manila, Philippines, my husband and I are finally back home in Italy, happily reunited with our two kids who had been counting the days until we see each other again, our pets goldfish and our dearest hamster, that was separated from us to stay with another family used to taking care of furry animals.  That also goes without saying that I have been slaving away in putting away the contents of a lot of suitcases in their proper places, keeping the washing machine busy since yesterday and getting to know the kitchen again.  Life without domestic responsibilities even for a week can stick and spoil anyone. 

I have been meaning to post this recipe from the Philippines but time was always of big shortage.  Albeit this problem, I was able to accomplish everything that I went there for, stay with my family and friends, food shop, go around the restaurants and most importantly, have fun living the Filipino life. It was nice to go back to my roots and be reminded again how and where I grew up.  I have changed after being away for so long, people have changed and places I used to know have also changed and disappeared.  As time moves, it erases the past and leaves us only with memories.  It's bittersweet and it's life

While I catch up on things, let me leave you with something I loved when I was young. I made some slight modifications from the one I used to have  when I was young.  Originally, sago is used but between tapioca and sago, there really is no big difference.  It's a simple fare that's good to have in summer months to cool down.  

As soon as I get settled back in, I will come up with a post about the Philippines focusing on the best local restaurants to go to.  It can be useful to know where the local food is good if you are in town, so wait for it!

What can I say?  It's good to be back home with my whole family together again.  Wishing you all a good week!

Cold Ginger, Vanilla & Lemon Tea with Tapioca

Serves 4
  • 1 cup tapioca
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 vanilla pod (can be replaced with vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar preferably muscovado sugar
  • Slice of ginger (about 3 inches), crushed
  • 1/2 lemon, zest only
  1. Soak tapioca in water for an hour.  Drain and discard the water.  Boil about a liter of water and when it boils, add the uncooked tapioca.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tapioca becomes transparent.  Rinse and drain by using a sieve.  Set aside. 
  2. In another saucepan, over medium heat, boil 4 cups of water with the sugar, the seeds of 1 vanilla pod and ginger.  After it boils, add the lemon zest.  Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.  Adjust the sweetness according to your liking.  
  3. Turn off the fire and add the cooked tapioca.  Mix well to get rid of clumps.  Set aside to cool.  Chill before serving.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint leaves & lemon zest.