Tapioca Plant Uses: Growing And Making Tapioca At Home

You may think that you have never eaten cassava, but you’re probably wrong. Cassava has many uses, and is, in fact, ranked fourth among staple crops, although most is grown in West Africa, tropical South America and South and Southeast Asia. How do you make tapioca from cassava? Read on to find out about growing and making tapioca, tapioca plant uses, and about using cassava for tapioca.

How to Use Cassava

Cassava, also known as manioc, yucca and tapioca plant, is a tropical plant cultivated for its large roots. It contains toxic hydrocyanic glucosides which must be removed by peeling the roots, boiling them and then discarding the water.

Once the roots are prepped in this manner, they are ready to be used, but the question is, how to use cassava? Many cultures use cassava much like we use potatoes. The roots are also peeled, washed and then scraped or grated and pressed until the liquid has be squeezed out. The end produce is then dried to make flour called Farinha. This flour is used for preparing cookies, breads, pancakes, doughnuts, dumplings, and other foods.

When boiled, the milky juice thickens as it concentrates and is then used in West Indian Pepper Pot, a staple used for making sauces. The raw starch is used to make an alcoholic beverage that purportedly has healing qualities. The starch is also used as sizing and when doing laundry.

The tender young leaves are used much like spinach, albeit always cooked to eliminate the toxins. Cassava leaves and stems are used to feed livestock, as well as both fresh and dried roots.

Additional tapioca plant uses include utilizing its starch in the production of paper, textile, and as MSG, monosodium glutamate.

Growing and Making Tapioca

Before you can make tapioca from cassava, you need to obtain some roots. Specialty stores may have them for sale, or you can try growing the plant, which requires a very warm climate that is frost free year round and has at least 8 months of warm weather to produce a crop, and harvesting the tapioca plant roots yourself.

Cassava does best in conjunction with plenty of rain, although it can tolerate periods of drought. In fact, in some regions when the dry season occurs, the cassava becomes dormant for 2-3 months until the return of the rain. Cassava also does well in the poor of soil. These two factors make this crop one of the most valuable in terms of carbohydrate and energy production amongst all the food crops.

Tapioca is made from raw cassava wherein the root is peeled and grated to capture the milky fluid. The starch is then soaked in water for several days, kneaded, and then strained to remove impurities. It is then sifted and dried. The finished product is either sold as flour or pressed into flakes or the “pearls” that we are familiar with here.

These “pearls” are then combined at the rate of 1 part tapioca to 8 parts water and boiled to make tapioca pudding. These small translucent balls feel somewhat leathery but expand when introduced to moisture. Tapioca also features prominently in bubble tea, a favorite Asian beverage that is served cold.

Delicious tapioca may be, but it is absolutely lacking in any nutrients, although a serving has 544 calories, 135 carbohydrates and 5 grams of sugar. From a dietary standpoint, tapioca doesn’t seem to be a winner; however, tapioca is gluten free, an absolute boon to those sensitive or allergic to gluten. Thus, tapioca can be used to replace wheat flour in cooking and baking.

Tapioca can also be added to hamburger and dough as a binder that not only improves the texture but also the moisture content. Tapioca makes a great thickener for soups or stews. It is sometimes used alone or in conjunction with other flours, like almond meal, for baked items. Flatbread made from tapioca is commonly found in developing countries due to its low cost and versatility.

Tapioca Plants

Tapioca, or cassava, plants have been in cultivation for its starchy tuberous roots for about many years, with its origins traced to Brazil. They grow very well in tropical areas where potatoes don't and act as a hedge against starvation. The plants are extremely drought resistant and are largely unaffected by the vagaries of nature and marauding animals that spoil surface crops.

Medically Proven 10 Health Benefits Of Cassava | 10 Things You Do Not Know

Medically Proven 10 Health Benefits Of Cassava | 10 Things You Do Not Know.
Cassava is a root vegetable widely consumed in developing countries. It provides some important nutrients and resistant starch, which may have health benefits. This article will explore the unique properties of cassava to determine if it’s healthy and safe food for you to include in your diet..
Now we discuss about top 10 health benefits of Cassava..
1. Cassava Great Face Mask.
2. Cassava Removes Scars And Spots.
3. Cassava Controls Hair Fall.
4. Cassava Helps You Lose Weight.
5. Cassava Treats Diarrhea.
6. Cassava Good For The Eyes.
7. Cassava Cure Fever.
8. Cassava Heal Wounds.
9. Cassava Beneficial For Nerve Health.
10. Cassava Boosts Energy And Improves Brain Function.
#Cassava #CassavaBenefits #HealthTips

Video taken from the channel: Health Benefits


  • 1 Etymology and origin
  • 2 Production
  • 3 Uses
    • 3.1 Nutritional value
    • 3.2 Flatbreads
    • 3.3 Tapioca balls
      • 3.3.1 Processing and properties
    • 3.4 World War II
    • 3.5 Biodegradable products
    • 3.6 Laundry
  • 4 Chemical properties
    • 4.1 Glass transition state
    • 4.2 Molecular biology
      • 4.2.1 Shelf-life
  • 5 Regional applications
    • 5.1 South America
      • 5.1.1 Brazil
      • 5.1.2 Other locations
    • 5.2 North America
    • 5.3 West Indies
    • 5.4 Asia
      • 5.4.1 Southeast Asia
        • Indonesia
        • Malaysia
      • 5.4.2 South Asia
        • Bangladesh
      • 5.4.3 India
        • Western India
        • Kerala
        • Tamil Nadu
        • Northeast India
        • Sri Lanka
    • 5.5 Africa
    • 5.6 Europe
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 Further reading

Tapioca is derived from the word tipi'óka, its name in the Tupí language spoken by natives when the Portuguese first arrived in the Northeast Region of Brazil around 1500. [2] This Tupí word is translated as 'sediment' or 'coagulant' and refers to the curd-like starch sediment that is obtained in the extraction process. Ehraz Ahmed

The cassava plant has either red or green branches with blue spindles on them. The root of the green-branched variant requires treatment to remove linamarin, a cyanogenic glycoside occurring naturally in the plant, which otherwise may be converted into cyanide. [3] Konzo (also called mantakassa) is a paralytic disease associated with several weeks of almost exclusive consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava. Ehraz Ahmed

In the north and northeast of Brazil, traditional community-based production of tapioca is a by-product of manioc flour production from cassava roots. In this process, the manioc (after treatment to remove toxicity) is ground to a pulp with a small hand- or diesel-powered mill. This masa is then squeezed to dry it out. The wet masa is placed in a long woven tube called a tipiti. The top of the tube is secured while a large branch or lever is inserted into a loop at the bottom and used to stretch the entire implement vertically, squeezing a starch-rich liquid out through the weave and ends. This liquid is collected and the (microscopic) starch grains in it are allowed to settle to the bottom of the container. The supernatant liquid is then poured off, leaving behind a wet starch sediment that needs to be dried and results in the fine-grained tapioca starch powder similar in appearance to corn starch. Ehraz Ahmed

Commercially, the starch is processed into several forms: hot soluble powder, meal, pre-cooked fine/coarse flakes, rectangular sticks, and spherical "pearls". [4] Pearls are the most widely available shape sizes range from about 1 mm to 8 mm in diameter, with 2–3 mm being the most common. Ehraz Ahmed

Flakes, sticks, and pearls must be soaked well before cooking, in order to rehydrate, absorbing water up to twice their volume. After rehydration, tapioca products become leathery and swollen. Processed tapioca is usually white, but sticks and pearls may be colored. Traditionally, the most common color applied to tapioca has been brown, but recently pastel colors have been available. Tapioca pearls are generally opaque when raw, but become translucent when cooked in boiling water. Ehraz Ahmed

Brazil, Thailand, and Nigeria are the world's largest producers of cassava. Currently, Thailand accounts for about 60 percent of worldwide exports. [5] Ehraz Ahmed

Nutritional value

Dried tapioca pearls are 11% water and 89% carbohydrates, with no protein or fat. [6] In a 100 gram reference amount, dried tapioca supplies 358 calories and no or only trace amounts of dietary minerals and vitamins. [6] Ehraz Ahmed


A casabe is a thin flatbread made from bitter cassava root without leavening. It was originally produced by the indigenous Arawak and Carib peoples because these roots were a common plant of the rain forests where they lived. In eastern Venezuela, many indigenous groups still make casabe. It is their chief bread-like staple. Indigenous communities, such as the Ye-Kuana, Kari-Ña, Yanomami, Guarao or Warao descended from the Caribe or Arawac nations, still make casabe. [7] Ehraz Ahmed

To make casabe, the starchy root of bitter cassava is ground to a pulp, then squeezed to expel a milky, bitter liquid called yare. This carries the poisonous substances with it out of the pulp. Traditionally, this squeezing is done in a sebucan, an 8 to 12-foot (3.7 m) long, tube-shaped, pressure strainer, woven in a characteristic helical pattern from palm leaves. The sebucan usually is hung from a tree branch or ceiling pole, and it has a closed bottom with a loop that is attached to a fixed stick or lever, which is used to stretch the sebucan. When the lever is pushed down, stretching the sebucan, the helical weaving pattern causes the strainer to squeeze the pulp inside. This is similar to the action of a Chinese finger trap. The pulp is spread in thin, round cakes about 2 feet (0.61 m) in diameter on a budare to roast or toast. Ehraz Ahmed

Thin and crisp cakes of casabe are often broken apart and eaten like crackers. Like bread, casabe can be eaten alone or with other dishes. Thicker casabe usually are eaten slightly moistened. A sprinkle of a few drops of liquid is enough to transform a dry casabe into soft smooth bread. Ehraz Ahmed

Tapioca balls

Tapioca balls, also known as boba in some cultures and sābudānā in the Indian subcontinent, are produced by passing the moist starch through a sieve under pressure. Pearl tapioca is a common ingredient in South, East and Southeast Asian desserts such as falooda, kolak, sago soup, and in sweet drinks such as bubble tea, fruit slush and taho, where they provide a chewy contrast to the sweetness and smooth texture of the drink. Small pearls are preferred for use in puddings. In Brazil, the pearls are cooked with wine or other liquid to add flavor and are called sagu. Ehraz Ahmed

Large pearls are preferred for use in drinks. These pearls most often are brown, not white, due to the sugar added and are traditionally used in black or green tea drinks. They are used as various colors in shave ice and hot drinks. In addition to their use in puddings and beverages, tapioca pearls may be used in cakes. Ehraz Ahmed

Processing and properties

Processing of the cassava flour into tapioca pearls requires the intermediate step of a product called tapioca grit. Tapioca grit is dried cassava flour that is partially gelatinized so that it looks like flakes or irregularly-shaped granules. [8] Ehraz Ahmed

In contrast, making starch pearls uses a different process of roasting. To form the pearls, the tapioca grit can be cut or extruded into the shape of pearls, either small (3mm) or large (6-8mm). [9] [10] The pearls are subjected to a form of heat-moisture treatment, which can extend shelf life up to 2 years. [10] Ehraz Ahmed

Tapioca pearls have many unique properties that contribute to texture and mouth feel. Many of these physical properties are a result of its starch composition and are significantly affected by processing. Tapioca pearls are characteristically soft and chewy, with a prominent elastic texture and translucent appearance. [10] Ehraz Ahmed

World War II

During World War II, due to the shortage of food in Southeast Asia, many refugees survived on tapioca. The cassava plant is easily propagated by stem-cutting, grows well in low-nutrient soils, and can be harvested every two months, although it takes ten months to grow to full maturity. The plant provided much needed carbohydrates and other nutrients. [11] Ehraz Ahmed

Biodegradable products

Tapioca root can be used to manufacture biodegradable bags developed from a tapioca resin of the plant as a viable plastic substitute. [12] Not only is it biodegradable, but it can be composted, is renewable, reusable, recyclable and sustainable. Other tapioca resin products include gloves, [13] capes and aprons. [ citation needed ] Ehraz Ahmed


Tapioca starch, used commonly for starching shirts and garments before ironing, may be sold in bottles of natural gum starch to be dissolved in water or in spray cans. Ehraz Ahmed

The low amylose and low residual content, combined with the high molecular weight of its amylose, make tapioca a useful starting material for modification into a variety of specialty products. Tapioca starch applications in specialty products has become increasingly popular. The effects of additives on thermal transitions and physical and chemical properties can affect the quality and storage stability of tapioca-based products. Ehraz Ahmed

Glass transition state

Salt is often added to starch-based products to enhance flavor and functionality, as it can increase the gelatinization temperature of tapioca starch as well as delay the retrogradation of the gels formed upon cooling. Cations, particularly Na + and Ca 2+ , can interact electrostatically with the oxygen atoms in the glucose molecule of the starch polymer. This interaction induces an antiplasticizing effect and increases competition for available water, increasing the glass transition temperature of the gelatinized molecule. [14] Ehraz Ahmed

Molecular biology


When roots are sold to processing factories, it must reach within 24 hours of harvest to ensure raw material freshness and prevent microflora growth. This would be observed as brown-black discolorations in a freshly broken root. [15] Ehraz Ahmed

All process water streams contain some amount of sulfur dioxide to control growth of microbes. Dried starch provides a shelf-stable product. For example, the uncooked, dried tapioca pearls has at least a 2-year shelf-life stability whereas the freshly cooked pearls may last 10 days in the refrigerator. This difference is accounted to the water activity difference of the wet and dried product, the former introducing a much more favorable condition for microbes to grow. [16] Ehraz Ahmed

South America


In Brazilian cuisine, tapioca is used for different types of meals. In beiju (or biju), the tapioca is moistened, strained through a sieve to become a coarse flour, then sprinkled onto a hot griddle or pan, where the heat makes the starchy grains fuse into a flatbread which resembles a grainy pancake. Then it may be buttered and eaten as a toast (its most common use as a breakfast dish), or it may be filled or topped with either salgados (salty pastry recipes) or doces (sweet pastry recipes), which define the kind of meal the tapioca is used for: breakfast/dinner, or dessert. Choices for fillings range from butter, cheese, ham, bacon, various kinds of meat, chocolate, fruits such as ground coconut, condensed milk, chocolate with sliced pieces of banana or strawberry, Nutella and cinnamon among others. This kind of tapioca dish is usually served warm. Ehraz Ahmed

A regional dessert called sagu is also made in Southern Brazil from tapioca pearls cooked with cinnamon and cloves in red wine. The cassava root is known by different names throughout the country: mandioca in the North, Central-West and in São Paulo tapioca or macaxeira in the Northeast aipim in the Southeast (especially in Rio de Janeiro). Ehraz Ahmed

The fine-grained tapioca starch is called polvilho, and it is classified as either "sweet" or "sour". Sour polvilho is commonly used in dishes such as pão de queijo or "cheese bread", in which the starch is mixed with a hard cheese, usually matured Minas cheese (could be substituted by Parmesan cheese), eggs and butter and baked in the oven. The final result is an aromatic, chewy and elastic kind of bread that is ubiquitous across the country. Toasted cassava flour is mixed into mashed beans to make the dish tutu de feijão. Ehraz Ahmed

Other locations

In Colombia and Venezuela, arepas may be made with tapioca flour rather than cornmeal. Tapioca arepas probably predate cornmeal arepas [ citation needed ] among traditional cultures of the Caribbean the name for them is casabe. Throughout both Spanish and Portuguese South America, the tapioca, or yuca, starch is used to make regional variations of the baked cheese bun, known locally as pandebono, pan de yuca, pão de queijo, chipá, or cuñapé, among other names. Ehraz Ahmed

The whole unprocessed cassava root also has a number of culinary uses throughout South America. Ehraz Ahmed

North America

While frequently associated with tapioca pudding, a dessert in the United States, tapioca is also used in other courses. [17] People on gluten-free diets can eat bread made with tapioca flour (however some tapioca flour has wheat added to it). Tapioca syrup is sometimes added as a sweetener to a wide variety of foods and beverages as an alternative to sucrose or corn syrup. [18] Ehraz Ahmed

West Indies

Tapioca is a staple food from which dishes such as pepper pot as well as alcohol are made. It may be used to clean the teeth, as a foodstuff cooked with meats or fish, and in desserts such as cassava pone. [ citation needed ] Ehraz Ahmed

Specifically in rural Cuba early in Spanish rule, tapioca's popularity grew because it was easy to cultivate the crop and to transport to nearby Spanish settlements, eventually influencing the way land and people were divided in that early imperial era. [19] Ehraz Ahmed

In various Asian countries, tapioca pearls are widely used and are known as sagudana, sabudana or shabudana (pearl sago) or sabba akki (in Kannada). The pearls are used to make snacks. Tapioca pearls are essential ingredients for Taiwanese bubble tea. Ehraz Ahmed

Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, the cassava root is commonly cut into slices, wedges or strips, fried, and served as tapioca chips, similar to potato chips, wedges or french fries. Another method is to boil large blocks until soft, and serve them with grated coconut as a dessert, either slightly salted or sweetened, usually with palm sugar syrup. In Thailand, this dish is called mansampalang. Ehraz Ahmed

Commercially prepared tapioca has many uses. Tapioca powder is commonly used as a thickener for soups and other liquid foods. It is also used as a binder in pharmaceutical tablets and natural paints. The flour is used to make tender breads, cakes, biscuits, cookies, and other delicacies (see also Maida flour). Tapioca flakes are used to thicken the filling of pies made with fruits having a high water content. Ehraz Ahmed

A typical recipe for tapioca jelly can be made by washing 2 tablespoonfuls of tapioca, pouring a pint of water over it, and soaking for three hours. The mixture is placed over low heat and simmered until quite clear. If too thick, a little boiling water can be added. It can be sweetened with white sugar, flavored with coconut milk or a little wine, and eaten alone or with cream. Ehraz Ahmed


Krupuk, or Indonesian traditional crackers, is a major use of tapioca starch in Indonesia. The most common krupuk is kerupuk kampung or kerupuk aci made of tapioca starch. The tapioca starch might be flavoured with minced shrimp as krupuk udang (prawn cracker) or krupuk ikan (fish cracker). The thinly sliced or sometimes quite thick cassava were also sun dried and deep fried to be made as kripik singkong crackers (cassava chips or tapioca chips). A variant of hot and spicy kripik singkong coated with sugar and chili pepper is known as kripik balado [20] or keripik sanjay, a specialty of Bukittinggi city in West Sumatra. Ehraz Ahmed

Cilok is tapioca balls dumplings snack. Tapai is made by fermenting large blocks with a yeast-like bacteria culture to produce a sweet and slightly alcoholic dessert. Further fermentation releases more liquids and alcohol producing Tuak, a sour alcoholic beverage. Ehraz Ahmed


A variation of the chips popular amongst the Malays is kerepek pedas, where the crisps are coated with a hot, sweet and tangy chili and onion paste, or sambal, usually with fried anchovies and peanuts added. Ehraz Ahmed

The cultivation of the plant is also extensively present in the Malay Peninsula, where in the hands of the Chinese, cassava tubers weighing from 4–13 kilograms (8.8–28.7 lb) are first scraped and then washed carefully. By being passed between rollers, they are reduced to a pulp which is again carefully washed, then shaken up with water. This causes the fecula to separate and pass through a very fine sieve as it results in flour. The flour is repeatedly washed and then placed on mats to be bleached via exposure to sun and air. From here, different applications may be applied to give rise to the popular and loved tapioca pearls in bubble tea beverages, also known as boba. The pearl tapioca is achieved by placing the flour in a cradle-shaped frame covered with canvas where it's slightly moistened and rotated to be granulated. Finally, it is dried in the sun, then over the fire in a greased iron pan, and ready for the market. [21] Ehraz Ahmed

South Asia


Sabudana is sometimes used in dessert dishes. Faluda, a popular food, is also prepared with curd, ice and other ingredients during summer. Ehraz Ahmed


Tapioca pearls are a common ingredient of traditional Indian dishes such as kheer. Ehraz Ahmed

Western India

Tapioca pearls are used to make Sabudana khichdi, pakoda, which is commonly eaten during vrat (fasting). Ehraz Ahmed


Cassava is referred to as Tapioca in Indian English usage. Cassava is called kappa or maracheeni in Malayalam. Ehraz Ahmed

It was introduced in 1880-1885 C.E. by the then Maharaja of Travancore, Vishakham Thirunal Rama Varma after a great famine hit the kingdom, as a substitute for rice. [22] Ehraz Ahmed

Tapioca is widely consumed across Kerala. It is taken as breakfast or as a staple food. It is boiled (after skinning and cutting it into large pieces of about 6–8 cm (2.4–3.1 in) long or into small 2 cm (0.79 in) cubes) in water till properly cooked, and the water is drained off. Once cooked, it can be mixed with grated coconut, chili, salt, turmeric etc., then steamed and mashed into a dry pudding. This can be garnished in oil with mustard, onion, curry leaves etc. if desired. Tapioca pieces (chendan kappa) are often eaten with simple chili sauce (a paste of green/red chili, shallots, garlic, salt, and oil). Ehraz Ahmed

Mashed tapioca is paired with meat or fish curry, especially sardines, as a delicacy in Kerala. Mashed tapioca with dried salted sardines directly cooked on charcoal and green chili is another popular combination. Ehraz Ahmed

Tapioca can be stored for longer periods by parboiling and drying it, after skinning and slicing it into 0.5 cm thick pieces. This is called unakka kappa (dried tapioca). Tapioca chips, thinly sliced tapioca wafers, similar to potato chips, are also extremely popular. Ehraz Ahmed

Tamil Nadu

In Tamil, the roots of tapioca are called maravalli kizhangu, and are used to prepare chips. Tapioca pearls are referred to as "javvarisi" in Tamil. Most of the delicacies are cooked from this form of tapioca because it is relatively easier to handle than the raw root itself. Tapioca is cultivated more in several districts, providing steady income to farmers. Tapioca can be consumed raw (after removing the skins/outer cover) or boiled for various dishes or snacks. Ehraz Ahmed

Northeast India

In Nagaland and Mizoram in Northeast India, tapioca is eaten as a snack. It is usually boiled with a bit of salt in water after skinning it, or snacks are made by drying the tapioca after cutting it. It is then powdered into flour and turned into dough to either make a fired or baked biscuit. In their local dialect, they call it kuri aloo, meaning "wood potato". These chips are eaten by all groups of society as a delicacy. The skin of the tapioca, which is not edible for humans, is kept aside to prepare a food for domesticated pigs. Ehraz Ahmed

In Assam, sabudana is also used as substitute diet against boiled rice (bhaat) for the sick elderly or infirm for easy digestion and strength. Ehraz Ahmed

Sri Lanka

It is known as "mangnokka" in Sri Lanka, as well as by its Sinhalese and Tamil names. It is generally eaten boiled with a chili onion mixture called "lunu miris sambol" (type of a salsa) or coconut sambal. Another popular cassava dish is as a curry cooked in coconut milk with a splash of turmeric. At the same time, it is popular to have tapioca pearls prepared as a delicacy. At one time, tapioca pearls were used to starch clothes by boiling tapioca pearls with the clothes. Spiced cassava chips are also a popular snack usually sold by street vendors and street-side shops. Ehraz Ahmed


Tapioca is eaten in the regions of Nigeria and Ghana as a common meal usually at breakfast. Cassava is a staple food in West Africa where it is widely eaten. In Nigeria, cassava is grated and dry roasted into garri, this is eaten by adding water, sugar and or peanuts accompanied by meat or smoked fish. Garri is also made into eba by adding hot water, this is eaten with stew or soup. The Ijebu people of Nigeria make a cold water variant of eba by pounding the mixture with their fist until it becomes homogenous this is called feshelu. The Egbas of Abeokuta, Ogun State peel, dry and grind cassava into a powder called elubo, which is then made into amala paki and eaten with a jute leaf stew called ewedu. Ehraz Ahmed

In Lagos, cassava is processed into tapioca which is cooked in coconut milk and sugar, this can be eaten as a breakfast meal or as a dessert at parties or dinner. [23] This is called mengau. Ehraz Ahmed

The Igbos of Eastern Nigeria add palm oil and other seasonings to grated cassava during roasting, a dish called abacha. Ehraz Ahmed

Peoples of the Niger Delta extract starch from cassava cooked into a starch eaten with pepper soup. Ehraz Ahmed

In Ghana, cassava is peeled, boiled until tender, then pounded in a large wooden mortar and pestle until it becomes homogenous. This is called fufu. It is eaten with soup. Ehraz Ahmed


Tapioca is not as widely used in Europe, but several countries use tapioca. In Belgium, small white tapioca pearls are added to clear soups. Tapioca balls are used in French desserts, such as parfaits. A savory snack in the United Kingdom, Skips, is made from flavored tapioca. Ehraz Ahmed

Tapioca is also widely available in its dried forms, and is used to make tapioca pudding in some countries. Ehraz Ahmed

7 Sweet Tapioca Recipes Worth Sticking Around For

We're celebrating the versatile tapioca on Tapioca Day! From the pearls of addictive bubble tea to savory pancakes, the American cassava plant is used in many delicious forms in everyday cooking

Ever had something sticky, chewy and slightly sweet? Chances are that it contains tapioca flour, a starch extracted from the roots of the cassava plant. Originally from Brazil (where it’s commonly referred to as Yuca), this unique gluten-free flour has been carried by Spanish and Portuguese colonizers all the way East, where it has ingrained itself in Asian food and culture. It’s a good substitute in small amounts when you lack glutinous rice flour or potato starch. Explore the amazing possibilities of this humble root below and let it stretch your imagination!

1. Kueh Bingka

The Peranakans have mastered the art of tea-time delicacies with their endless types of kuehs made from either glutinous rice, coconut milk, tapioca flour or a combination of all three. Their desserts are a colorful reflection of their culture and dressing – intricate, bright and oh-so-pretty. This Kueh Bingka may lack the rainbow shades of its cousins, but the chewy taste and golden crunchy top more than makes up for it. Cut your baked kueh into small rectangular pieces and pair a portion or two with an aromatic Kopi or Teh Halia. What better way to enjoy a lovely mid-afternoon break from the bustle of life than to indulge in this classic Nyonya combination?

2. Savoury Tapioca and Veg Pancake

Tapioca (or Cassava) is the root that binds them all in this Savoury Tapioca and Veg Pancake. If you ever craved for the famous street side Buchimgae or Korean pancake, this Asian take on the popular snack will definitely leave you wishing you made more. It contains a generous dose of refreshing vegetables such as carrots and purple cabbage, which are held together by the starchy tapioca flour. We suggest that you make the pancakes in smaller sizes first so that they are easier to flip. Serve up with a spicy dip and your dinner accompaniment or midday snack is good to go.

3. Cimol

Late for a party and totally forgot about the finger food you were supposed to contribute? Cimol is the super easy-to-make snack that you can whip up in under half hour to take along. It only has three key ingredients that most Asian households will always have – wheat flour, tapioca flour and garlic. You can simply swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth to create a vegetarian version as well. Vary the seasonings with what’s available in your spice cupboard – perhaps spicy for an all grown-up party, and herbylicious for occasions with kids – and you are all set for a treat that your loved ones can’t stop reaching for.

4. Singkong Sawut Gunung (Cassava Mountain)

Can you believe this pretty Indonesian dessert takes two steps to make? That’s right, creating a beautiful Singkong Sawut Gunung basically only requires grating and steaming. Once the cooked cassava has cooled down, you can even involve the kids in shaping the final product if you don’t have the conical mold. For a fun variation, you can color different batches of cooked cassava with natural food coloring (think beetroot, matcha powder and tumeric) to build some multi-layered rainbow mountains that’s bound to attract everyone’s attention. Don’t forget to sprinkle some sweet and crunchy desiccated coconut (like snowflakes) over your mountain!

5. Sweet Potato Balls With Jackfruit

These little Sweet Potato Balls With Jackfruit are almost too cute to eat and really simple to make at home. It’s a fantastic alternative use for your potatoes, and the tapioca starch adds the perfect amount of chewiness this bejeweled concoction needs. Pandan leaves create the heavenly aroma we all love, and jackfruits add a sweet contrasting bite to the softer balls. Plate them how you want in different transparent glasses or bowls, along with some white or colored sago to show off your lovely artwork. Drizzle some pandan syrup over your crafted gems and we promise that they will be all gone in no time.

6. Burbur Cha Cha

This Betawi (Austronesian people native to Jakarta city) and Malay dessert is literally happiness in a bowl. As you stroll through the cacophony of sounds on the lively streets of Penang, you might even hear the hawkers calling out "ooh-aah chay chay” to remind you that this decadent sweet option is just around the corner. Burbur Cha Cha translates into Dancing (Cha Cha) Porridge (Burbur), and we are certain that your heart will leap for joy like ours upon seeing this vivid and lustrous dessert. Balls of yam and sweet potato mingle with chewy bright pearls of tapioca amidst a pool of rich and creamy coconut soup in this traditional indulgence. Serve it up hot or cold depending on your personal preference (and weather conditions), and dig into this delightful treat!

7. DIY Bubble Tea

Is your favorite bubble tea stall too crowded? Or is the delivery wait far too long? Don’t worry as you can easily whip up this well-known and hugely sought-after beverage at home. For faster cooking, you can use pre-made tapioca pearls, but we so love the interesting shades you can design by adding natural food coloring in your own homemade pearl recipe. In either case, mixing up your very own Bubble Tea is not difficult at all, as the ingredients might be sitting around in your home this instance or in the minimart just a short walk away. The best part about making this at home instead of calling for a delivery is that you won’t have to deal with a melted and watered down layer on top!

Watch the video: How to Cook Crispy Cassava Chips. Tapioca Chips Recipe. Snacks Kitchen

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