Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28: National Tapioca Day

Not tapioca pudding, just tapioca.  Tapioca is a starch that comes from cassava root.  (Cassava root is also known as manioc or yuca - which is totally different than yucca.)  For many people, the only way they will consume tapioca will be as a pudding.  Or in bubble tea, which is prepared using tapioca balls. 

But tapioca can be used for so many more things beyond pudding and bubble tea.  You can use tapioca in pies as a thickener.  It can be used in shrimp bisque.   Cook tapioca with pineapple for a sweet dessert.  If you travel to certain Latin American countries like I did last month, you'll probably eat a lot of manioc, the whole cassava root, usually prepared boiled.  You can make gluten-free cookies with tapioca flour, or go international and make kue bangket cookies.  (Here's an alternative recipe for those cookies here.)  Keeping with the international flair, you could have a Brazilian tapioca omelet for breakfast, have tapioca pudding or cassava fries with lunch, boil the cassava for dinner, and then have a tapioca cake.  If you follow that, you'll have eaten tapioca in 5 different ways from 5 different countries. 

With all these different ways of eating tapioca, maybe it's time I ventured beyond the bubble tea and boiled root.  Variety is the spice of life, no?

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