National Tapioca Day

Tapioca, like several foods, seems to be one of those love it or hate it types. Me, personally, I love tapioca, especially right after its made and it’s still warm. I don’t know if that makes me weird or not, but that’s how I remember eating it at my grandma’s house. I loved when she made tapioca.

I’d watch as she warmed the milk on the stove and got it just to bubbling at the sides. She would pour in the ingredients and stir and stir. I’d watch as it would thicken and the smell rose from the pan. My salivary glands would already be working in anticipation of the warm bowl of deliciousness waiting for me.

Funny what memories stay with us. I can’t tell you the last time I had a warm bowl of freshly made tapioca. It’s been well over 15 years I am sure.

Today, there is bubble tea (which I’ve never had), let me know if you have. There is tapioca flour, to be used in place of regular or gluten-flour and other uses. But what exactly is tapioca? According to Wikipedia:

Tapioca is a starch extracted from the storage roots of the cassava plant (Manihot esculenta). This species is native to the north region and central-west region of Brazil,[1] but its use spread throughout South America. The plant was carried by Portuguese and Spanish explorers to most of the West Indies and Africa and Asia. It is a perennial shrub adapted to the hot conditions of tropical lowlands. Cassava copes better with poor soils than many other food plants.

Although tapioca is a staple food for millions of people in tropical countries, it provides only carbohydrate food value, and is low in proteinvitamins and minerals. In other countries, it is used as a thickening agent in various manufactured foods”

There you have it. What it is, from whence it hails and what to do with it!!! Celebrate National Tapioca Day today. Share how you celebrated with tapioca today!

Note that tapioca is one of those foods that is a delight and pleasure to eat. There is no “diet” recipe for tapioca as it is a starch and should be savored!

Look at the instructions on the package of tapioca that you buy. Some small pearl tapioca requires overnight soaking in water. If your package has that requirement, reduce the milk in the recipe to 2 1/2 cups from 3 cups.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 c small pearl tapioca (in the baking section of the grocery store, do not use instant tapioca)
  • 3 c whole milk (or skim milk with cream added)
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c of sugar
  • 1 tspn of vanilla extract

Directions

1 Cook tapioca in milk with salt, slowly adding sugar until the tapioca thickens: Mix tapioca, milk, and salt in 1 1/2 quart pan on medium high heat. Stir while bringing to barely simmering. Lower the heat and cook uncovered, at the lowest possible heat. Add sugar gradually, until the tapioca pearls have plumped up and thickened. Stir occasionally so that the tapioca doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

2 Temper the eggs with a little hot tapioca: Just like making all puddings, the eggs must be tempered. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. Whisk in some of the hot tapioca very slowly to equalize the temperature of the two mixtures (to avoid curdling).

3 Add eggs to pan with tapioca. Increase the heat to medium and stir for several minutes until you get a thick pudding consistency. Do not let the mixture boil or the tapioca egg custard will curdle. Cool 15 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Serve either warm or cold. Add fresh berries or fruit.

Note: If you want to make a more light and fluffy, but still rich, tapioca pudding, separate the eggs. Use the egg yolks to stir in first to the pan with the tapioca. Once the pudding has become nice and thick, beat the egg whites in a separate bowl to soft peaks. Remove the pan of tapioca pudding from the stove, fold in the beaten egg whites into the pudding.

Recipe found at allrecipes.

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