Saturday, May 19, 2012

What the heck is...


I had never really thought about it before but I ran into a recipe for this...

...the other day, and it looks amazing. Not at all what I had imagined tapioca looked like. For some reason, the color gray comes to mind.

Anyway, so what is tapioca? Well, it's a kind of starch derived from the cassava plant. Cassava is originally native to the Americas, although now it is grown widely in Asia and Africa, and its name derived from the Tupi-Guarani (native people to South America, also originated the word Jaguar, which is cool) word tipioca. To get it you take the roots, which look kind of like potatoes, and grind them up. The water is drained from the pulp, carrying along starch and presumably other small particles of stuff, and that residue is dried up to produce tapioca, which can be in the form of flakes, seeds, or pearls.

Other uses for tapioca besides pudding? Apparently it's popular in Brazil to make tapioca pancakes, "buttered and rolled". I have an idea of what to do with the any leftovers I might have...

Also, there exists what sounds suspiciously like a tapioca cartel.

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