If you’re obsessed with boba and looking for a fun afternoon activity to do after finals, this recipe is perfect for you. These purple yam tang yuans or dessert balls are a healthy (but just as delicious) version of the popular drink topping. They also store really well so they make for a great dessert or snack that’s easy to defrost and cook. If you’re ever craving boba, this is the perfect dessert to make ahead of time and serve whenever you’re hungry!   

Christine Tu / Daily Nexus

Ingredients (for 8 servings):

  • 3 large purple yams
  • 1 cup sweet potato flour
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of hot water


  1. Peel the yams and dice into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Boil for 15 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce through the diced cube.
  3. Mash the steamed yams in a large bowl until homogenous.
  4. Add sweet potato flour, sugar, and hot water. Knead until incorporated into a uniform ball.
  5. Roll the dough ball into a thin log that is about one-inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough log into rounds with an one-inch width and roll each piece in between your hands to form a ball.
  6. If you want to eat them right away, place the balls in boiling water and let boil until the rounds float to the surface. 
  7. For storage, place into tightly sealed ziplock bags and let sit in the fridge. Can be stored for up to two months. 

This recipe is great as it’s fairly simple and makes for a fun afternoon activity. It’s traditionally served with a sweet soup of hot water and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar (adjust sweetness depending on your preferences). You can also add a variety of fun extra toppings, such as red bean or grass jelly, all which can be found at any Asian grocery store. Overall, this is a really fun and relatively healthy dessert that is well worth a try! 


Christine Tu
Christine Tu is an opinion staff writer and economics major. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and making snazzy to-do lists.