Tapioca, versatile ingredient, gluten free, rich in carbohydrates and very popular in Brazil. Tapioca is the name given to the starch extracted from the cassava root, a native plant from the north region of Brazil, now widely available worldwide thanks to the Portuguese and Spanish explorers.
The tapioca pancakes are very famous in Brazil, and in recent years its popularity is starting to expand outside of Brazil especially with healthy conscious, dietitians and gluten free foodies 🙂 The pancake can be savoury or sweet, the preference is yours.
For this recipe I decided to go savoury and use the shredded dried meat Bahian style filling I had prepared the day before.
- 500g Tapioca starch
- Salt to taste
- Plenty of water
- Butter (optional)
- Place the tapioca starch in a large container/bowl with a good pinch or two of sea salt (optional, add salt to taste) and fill it with clean water, enough water as if you are making a soup! Mix it well and let it rest for a few hours (2 to 3 hours) until the tapioca starch settles again on the bottom of the bowl.
- Cover it with clean film or a kitchen towel to stop anything from falling inside.
- Once the tapioca has settled on the bottom of the bowl, remove the excess water over a sink by tipping the bowl slowly and letting the water out.
- Now you are left with a hard paste, clay like mixture stuck to the bottom of the bowl, slowly remove this hard paste over a clean kitchen towel so you can dry any excess moisture left in the tapioca mixture.
- Slowly dry the mixture with the towel, make sure you absolve as much moisture out of it as you can by pressing the kitchen towel together. Place the dried lumps of tapioca gum in another dry clean tower and brake them apart with your fingers and let it rest for an hour.
- You are not left with a hydrated tapioca gum ready for cooking, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add a little butter for taste (optional).
- Add the tapioca gum inside a sieve, with a spoon press/rub the tapioca on the sieve over the hot frying pan to start making your healthy pancakes.
- Move the sieve around the frying pan to make sure you spread the tapioca evenly covering the frying pan, you may also spread the sieved tapioca with a spoon to evenly distribute the flour inside the pan.
- When the pancake starts to loosen up from the edges (2 minutes) you can then turn the pancake over and cook for a further couple of minutes.
- Once you have turned the pancake, add any mixture or filling to the pancake (fruits, jam, savoury mixtures, scrambled eggs, ham pate... any filling you want) and fold it in half.
- Serve it hot and enjoy!
- Tapioca pancake can be served for breakfast or as a main meal, depending on your filling of choice 🙂 I usually have it for lunch with a nice shredded dried beef Bahian style mix (as per main picture).
In Brazil, you can find tapioca starch everywhere. Outside of Brazil you are more likely to find the starch in Asian convenient shops or specialized Brazilian shops.