If you’re familiar with the tapioca crepe Brazilians make and you’re in a hurry, just grab the tapioca flour on your pantry, some water and click here to go straight to the recipe. But do come back to read the entire post while you enjoy your snack.
Have you ever seen the Brazilian tapioca? It’s a sort of crepe or taco made only from tapioca starch, a fine flour made from cassava root. It’s quite popular on the North and Northeast of Brazil, but, for it’s so easy to make and so tasty it conquer the country, and now it shall conquer the world. You can read more about it on the article the chef Mariana Chaves wrote for the Jamie Oliver’s blog.
The gluten free sweetheart, the tapioca starch lacks in fiber but it’s highly energetic. Rich in complex carbohydrates, that will turn into glicose (energy) when absorbed by the body, tapioca is free from fat an sugar and has vitamin B, K, calcium and iron.
For the sake of sharing I must say that the first memory I have of tapioca is in the early 2000, way before it got popular on my side of Brazil. My brother’s girlfriend came to our house with the starch and decided that my mom’s kitchen would be a nice place for the adventure.
I have absolutely no idea where she got the recipe, buy I do remember it was an epic failure. We were supposed to soak the flour for God knows how long, sift and some other tricks.
It turned into a weird sticky block of flour and the best we got from this experience was a good laugh and a messy kitchen for my mom to clean.
Time went by and tapioca got popular where I lived, and the supermarket started selling the flour already ready to hit the pan and add the filling. But the thing is… it doesn’t exist outside of Brazil.
But one shall not succumb and since tapioca is nothing more than the starch soaked in water, I felt I could manage to find an easy way to do it.
And the best part is that when you soak it at home, you can experiment. You can use the water from spinach cooking or some spicy tea for a sweet version of it.
Look how pretty it looks if you make a pink beetroot tapioca crepe.
A Brazilian writer, Nelson Rodrigues, once said that “all unanimity is stupid”, so, if you’re team gluten (bread) or team gluten free (tapioca), the important thing is to have a balanced diet to get all nutrients and never get bored.
Well, enough talking and let’s get down to business.
Brazilian tapioca crepes
125g of tapioca starch
1/4 cup of water
Filling of your choice
On a large bowl add the water to the flour. It’ll seem to be too little water for to much starch, but keep the faith. Now, since we have no time to waste and want the tapioca crepe ready ASAP, we’re not gonna sit and wait.
Once the water is added to the flour it’ll get stuff and lumpy. No worries. That’s supposed to happen. Now get your hands on it and start mixing it all. With the tip of your fingers you’ll crumble the mixture and get rid of the lumps.
Once it gets thiner and lump free it’s good to go.
Place a pan on high heat (no need to grease it) and once is quite hot it’s time for the flour to work it’s magic. Put a strainer over the pan and pass the drained flour through it. I like to make my tapioca crepes quite fat, but it’s a matter of taste.
With the back of a spoon, spread the mixture evenly throughout the pan, lower the heat and wait for it. While you wait, you can add your filling to half of the crepe.
I went with the basics: tomato and oregano. A pinch of salt and black pepper. But you can fill it with whatever you want. Ricotta or cottage cheese, shredded chicken and cream cheese, spinach, guacamole… or for some sweetness you can do fruits like banana and cinnamon, peanut butter or you may even ho crazy with our homemade hazelnut spread.
When it starts to loosen from the pan (it’s like magic), you can fold it with the help of a spatula and it’s done.
If you have any doubts just watch the video bellow for the detailed step by step.
Now is that oh so happy moment. Time to enjoy it. You can do knife and fork or just grab it with your hands like the Brazilian Indians (the bosses of the recipe) do.