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Tapioca


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#1 Suvir Saran

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 11:48 PM

My father had to spend a rather long day at the hospital in Denver yesterday.

As a result of the angiogram procedure, he ended up being given a room and so also a dinner.

As a man with great need for only the tastiest vegetarian foods, he was not impressed by anything they served him as part of the savory end of the meal, he did take a bite of the lemon meringue pie (not too bad, it was made with more gelatin than anything else, but for hospital food, it was not too bad) and two packages of tapioca pudding.

I told him it could not be too different from the sabut dana kee kheer that we made at home in India. I was Wrong. The pudding was terrible. It was the pre-packaged stuff that I am told one can find easily in most all supermarkets and grocers. This is the same company that also makes other commercial puddings. My father was saddened simply tasting it, he refused to eat further (he is getting fussy, he eats VERY LITTLE, but is very selective, it is difficult enough to feed him at home, but I dread the day he is checked into the hospital, it will be a nightmare) and was shocked I could have suggested that this pudding could be close to anything a chef would prepare.

How do you make your favorite tapioca pudding? Are these packaged ones any good? I never tried it, never have, and now feel I am somewhat nervous to try... Maybe I will, if only to be more intelligent about this whole thing.

Are these commercial puddings close to what was prepared at homes at some point?

Do people make tapioca pudding for special occasions?

How does one make it? What makes tapioca pudding special? What are its essentials?

#2 snowangel

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 01:12 AM

Do people make tapioca pudding for special occasions?

How does one make it?  What makes tapioca pudding special?  What are its essentials?

Hie thyself to a grocery! Homemade tapicoa pudding is easy.

In the "baking section," you should be able to get Minute Tapioca or Small Pearl Tapicoa. Follow recipe on box, using whole milk. Orgainic eggs, if possible. Real vanilla. Sugar. Pinch of salt. That about covers it. Super easy, super good, super comfort food. (So, how many ingredients were on the label of the packaged stuff??)

It is easy and wonderful. I make it at least weekly for a daily special occasion -- the kids coming home from school.

It is great warm or cold.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#3 kcd

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 07:29 AM

This is slightly (!?!) off topic, but it is about tapioca. This was on NPR, so it MUST be true. Right?

It seems that several years ago there was a ship coming into N.Y. harbor with a combined load of tapioca and wood. Lots of both.

Well, something in the engine room caught fire. They brought in those "water ships" to put out the fire. But they didn't get it before the fire spread to the wood.

The wood fire, the water. The tapioca. You can picture the logical result. The hull of the boat was soon in danger.

It took 30 dump trucks 24 hours to empty the tapioca.


just had to pass this along. :biggrin:
" Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force."--Dorothy L. Sayers.

As someone who just turned 50, I look forward to this state-of-being.

#4 Sandra Levine

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 07:52 AM

Tapioca pudding is one of those love it or hate it propositions. In school, it is known by those who hate it as, "fish eyes in glue." :sad: I love it, but haven't made it in years. If you substitute some canned coconut milk for regular milk, it will be esepcially delicious. I agree with Snowangel that it is a very comforting and soothing dessert. A fruit sauce or stewed fruit goes very well with it.

#5 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 01:21 PM

  In school, it is known by those who hate it as, "fish eyes in glue." 

Reminds me of a story...

Jimmy Sneed did a savory tapioca dish at some big walk-around charity event and dubbed it something like, "Fish Eye Soup". Apparently a great many of the guests did not see through the humor!

Still one of the best tapioca desserts I've had is Claudia Fleming's. Just milk, coconut milk, and sugar. Easy and worth a try; it's in her book. A bit lighter still involves soaking the tapioca in cold water for twelve hours or so, then simply bringing it up to a boil with milk, coconut, and sugar. Here you are removing some of the starch and shortening the cooking time, as well as lightening the consisitency and richness, which makes it more suitable when using the tapioca as a component in, say, a more complex plated dessert.
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#6 trillium

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 02:54 PM

Hi Suvir,

Like snowangel, I use the minute tapioca for pudding when I'm feeling greedy and impatient, and regular slow cooking larger ones from Bob's Red Mill when I'm not. All this to say, I suggest checking out Kozy Shack's tapioca pudding if you want to try some store bought that is actually good (and so is the chocolate pudding). I usually don't buy any pre-made food, but I make an exception for Kozy Shack pudding. Maybe get someone to smuggle some in when your dad has to be checked in. I've always found it really strange that hospital food in the US is so bad...good luck.

regards,
trillium

#7 Bond Girl

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 03:56 PM

Suvir,
Here are two of my favorite tapioca pudding recipes:

The first is a traditional tapioca pudding. You need 2 cups of milk for about 1/2 cup of tapioca pearls. 2 Tbs of butter, Vanilla bean or extract and about a quarter cup of sugar. you combine all the ingredients and cook the tapioca until they are translucent. I sometimes like to give it a twist by throwing in spices like cardamon or saffron, or use coconut milk instead of whole milk depending on my moods.

The other is a twist on the traditional malaysian dessert. You boil the tapioca pearls in water for about a minute, then turn the fire off and put the lid on the pot to let it cook in hot water. Once most of the pearls are translucent, you drain them and rinse with cold water. The original sauce is made with palm sugar, pandan leaves and coconut cream, but I just use maple syrup heat up with coconut milk and drizzle it over the tapioca. This is especially good with topped with fried bananas.

Edited by Bond Girl, 10 February 2003 - 04:01 PM.

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#8 Suvir Saran

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 04:40 PM

Thanks everyone!
Keep these suggestions coming.
I shall keep all of these in mind. :smile:

#9 elyse

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 06:30 PM

Suvir,
Here are two of my favorite tapioca pudding recipes:

The first is a traditional tapioca pudding. You need 2 cups of milk for about 1/2 cup of tapioca pearls.  2 Tbs of butter, Vanilla bean or extract and about a quarter cup  of sugar.  you combine all the ingredients and cook the tapioca until they are translucent.  I sometimes like to give it a twist by throwing in spices like cardamon or saffron, or use coconut milk instead of whole milk depending on my moods. 

The other is a twist on the traditional malaysian dessert.  You boil the tapioca pearls in water for about a minute, then turn the fire off and put the lid on the pot to let it cook in hot water.  Once most of the pearls are translucent, you drain them and rinse with cold water.  The original sauce is made with palm sugar, pandan leaves and coconut cream, but I just use maple syrup heat up with coconut milk and drizzle it over the tapioca.  This is especially good with topped with fried bananas.

Is this Minute, or large pearl? They sound fabulous.

#10 azlee

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 07:31 PM

As a man with great need for only the tastiest vegetarian foods, he was not impressed by anything they served him as part of the savory end of the meal, he did take a bite of the lemon meringue pie (not too bad, it was made with more gelatin than anything else, but for hospital food, it was not too bad) and two packages of tapioca pudding.

<snippage>

Are these commercial puddings close to what was prepared at homes at some point? 

Suvir- A thought...since your father is vegetarian, you will want to be mindful as you shop for prepared puddings or for mixes of their gelatin content. Most gelatin is not vegetarian. And most commercially prepared dessert mixes and puddings contain gelatin made from animals (usually beef). However, many "whole food-type" and health food stores carry vegetarian gelatins and puddings, which contain agar-agar which is made from seaweed (rather than boiled animal bones, skins and tendons), acacia and/or guar gums, carrageenan or natural fruit pectin, in order to gel. Homemade tapiocas thicken because of the starch of the cassava, while commercial mixes and prepared tapiocas often contain added gelatin in order to extend shelf-life or make them "fool-proof". This added gelatin can also change the texture of the end product.

Hope this helps

#11 Bond Girl

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 09:05 PM

Suvir,
Here are two of my favorite tapioca pudding recipes:

The first is a traditional tapioca pudding. You need 2 cups of milk for about 1/2 cup of tapioca pearls.  2 Tbs of butter, Vanilla bean or extract and about a quarter cup  of sugar.  you combine all the ingredients and cook the tapioca until they are translucent.  I sometimes like to give it a twist by throwing in spices like cardamon or saffron, or use coconut milk instead of whole milk depending on my moods. 

The other is a twist on the traditional malaysian dessert.  You boil the tapioca pearls in water for about a minute, then turn the fire off and put the lid on the pot to let it cook in hot water.  Once most of the pearls are translucent, you drain them and rinse with cold water.  The original sauce is made with palm sugar, pandan leaves and coconut cream, but I just use maple syrup heat up with coconut milk and drizzle it over the tapioca.  This is especially good with topped with fried bananas.

Is this Minute, or large pearl? They sound fabulous.

I use the regular small pearls found in boxes on the supermarket shelves. It's a lot cheaper in chinatown but sometimes it just ain't worth the trek.
Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

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I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

#12 bentherebfor

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:54 PM

So last night I'm cookin up some tapioca pudding........
later as my family and I were eating it, it occurred to us: what is tapioca?
Are we talking about a wheat product here? Does anyone know?

Furthermore, are there uses for tapioca beyond pudding?
Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

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#13 chefpeon

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 06:05 PM

Tapioca flour is a starch extracted from the root of the tropical cassava plant (also called manihot or manioc or yucca) in both the East and the West. This is a tall slender plant, which has poinsettia- type leaves, cultivated in plantation-type settings. It can attain heights of ten to sixteen feet. The root tubers grow in clusters and are tapered in shape, like giant sweet potatoes, twelve to twenty inches long; they sometime weigh as much as thirty pounds. Some species are bitter and others are sweet, and all must be processed to remove toxic compounds before being eaten.

When fully grown, the roots are harvested and sent to modern mills near the plantation. The roots are washed and peeled by tumbling in water sprays, then ground to a fine pulp. The liquid, which now contains the starch, is drained off. To separate and purify it, repeated washings and settlings form the starch into a moist cake. This is further dried and pulverized into a tapioca flour.

To make tapioca pearls, the tapioca flour, which is fine as face powder, is mixed with water to make a dough, which is slowly cooked and stirred. By the end of the precooking process, the tapioca has dried again into so called "flakes". These are reduced in size in hammer mills and dried in warm air before cooling, grinding, and screening to produce uniform granules. Tapioca pearls come in small, large or giant, and instant. 3 / 4 cup pearl tapioca thickens the same as 1 / 2 cup instant-type tapioca.

Besides pudding, Tapioca is commonly used as a thickening agent.....primarily in fruit pies.

#14 Cusina

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 06:25 PM

I had no idea... thanks for the information Anne.
What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

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#15 bentherebfor

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 07:21 PM

Wow
Number 1: I'm very impressed, thanks for the great info
Number 2: If the tapioca doesn't start in the form of a pearl, why bother turning it in to one?
Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox
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#16 JustKay

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 07:36 PM

Some species are bitter and others are sweet, and all must be processed to remove toxic compounds before being eaten.

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I'm not aware of its toxicity but I guess it would be the bitter variety (which we don't eat here) .

Over here you can just peel the skin off, cut it up and boil and eat with sugar or sweetened grated coconut, or mashed and eaten wth the same. Or even with salted fish!

*tapioca has 2 'skins' - an outer thin brownish layer and an inner thick white and/or pinkish layer - both must be removed*

It can be grated and made into 'cakes' or 'kuehs' although when used as such, the grated mass is usually drained somewhat to remove excess starch.

It can also be cut into small wedges and deep fried. Eaten by itself or can be further coated with either sugar syrup or spicy savory sauce.

It can also be used to make 'tapai' which is fermented tapiocas.

Or cut into cubes to make a kind of soupy dessert called bubur or pengat - ie cooked in coconut milk and palm sugar.

Or boiled and mashed and mixed with some flour and made into a donut kinda thing. Or formed into balls and dip in batter and deep fried.

The pearls and flour form would mainly be for storage purposes? Extending shelf life as obvioulsy fresh ones won't last very long.

The leaves (young ones) can also be eaten - boiled and eaten with a spicy chilli peanut sauce or just chilli sauce or cooked in coconut milk with bird eye's chilli.

I'm sure there are more things one can do with tapioca (fresh or otherwise).

:biggrin:

Edited by kew, 11 October 2004 - 07:42 PM.


#17 Transparent

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 07:37 PM

The Yucca! So that's what I've been searching for when I look for the words "tapioca" at groceries. I had no idea yucca was tapioca. Now, I just need a few recipes for fresh tapioca...

#18 Redsugar

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:20 AM

In 1894, Boston-area housewife Susan Stavers obtained South American manioc (i.e., casava) roots, which had been imported duty-free since 1883. She was the first person on record to produce starch from the roots (by running them through her coffee grinder to render translucent tapioca granules that would be used for a smooth pudding. Stavers sold the tapioca in paper bags – until a local publisher bought rights to her process and sold the product in boxes.

Tapioca is very digestible and is recommended for infants & elderly persons. However, tapioca pudding made from the pearl variety does not always connote pleasant memories for many older diners who became repulsed by its “fish-eyes” appearance. During my teens, our next-door neighbour was a Bostonian who told me that he had become repulsed by the sight & texture of it during his military service in England during WW II. But, of course many people develop such animosity toward certain foods – consider the stories told of old mutton pie! (I can recommend a book on this subject: How We Eat – Appetite, Culture & the Psychology of Food written by Leon Rappoport, a professor of personality & social psychology. He argues that a person may choose not to like a particular food because of several basic reasons: It violates a religious prohibition; it is “different;” the eater was frightened by a turnip as a boy; refusing to eat is a passive-aggresssive power strategy; people who eat “that” kind of food are morally inferior; and one must never eat when the greens are to the right of the potato. And on and on. You can grasp the general theory, right?)

Notwithstanding, here’s a recipe for Tapioca Pudding I first made in 1982:

1/3 cup pearl tapioca
18 fl. oz homogenized milk
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp arrowroot
1 fl. oz. milk
1 large egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, for dusting

Soak pearl tapioca for 3 hours in 6 fl. oz. water. Pour off water; add first measure of milk & salt; place in nonstick saucepan; heat & stir until a good simmer is reached. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring often, over lowest possible heat for about 45 min. (A double-boiler is ideally suited.)

Mix arrowroot & remaining milk; pour into hot mixture; bring to gentle boil, stirring constantly; reduce heat.

Beat together the egg, sugar, and vanilla. Temper the egg mixture w/ some of the hot tapioca, then pour mixture back into pan. Stir rapidly to combine; remove from heat.

Serve warm or chilled, in small glasses, dusted w/ cinnamon.
"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

#19 Mottmott

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 10:26 PM

I'm so glad this thread was started. At the Asian grocery, I saw a bag of GREEN tapiaoca. I couldn't resist buying it, but haven't yet used any of it. Does anyone know what it is traditionally used for?
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#20 EllenC

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 12:19 PM

I was at the asian market a while back and saw this lovely tapioca that was white and green and pink pearls. It looks beautiful in the jar I stored it in. However, I have to admit that I have only ever made "minute" tapioca and this isn't that. How do I fix it? will it still be these beautiful colors?

I can't just keep it in the jar forever....

#21 Woods

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 05:20 PM

I was at the asian market a while back and saw this lovely tapioca that was white and green and pink pearls.  It looks beautiful in the jar I stored it in.  However, I have to admit that I have only ever made "minute" tapioca and this isn't that.  How do I fix it?  will it still be these beautiful colors?

I can't just keep it in the jar forever....

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To make regular pearl tapioca soak it in the milk or water you are going to cook it in for about an hour before hand and cook as usual. Go to the library and look at some Asian cookbooks. They often use water rather than milk and eggs and add fruit. The large tapioca works the same way but looks a little like frog eyes.

Woods

#22 EllenC

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 09:02 AM

Thank you. I'll try it.

#23 glossyp

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 02:08 PM

A common variation is to use coconut milk. Another pleasing though unusual flavor is essence of rose such as you would find in some Indian cuisines. I've also had a wonderful tapioca made with essence of lavender. Good luck with your tapioca - one of my favorite desserts!
"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

#24 eje

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 04:30 PM

The colored ones are usually used for Bubble (Boba) Tea drinks; but, you can use them for regular tapioca, too.

I adapted this recipe from the back of a bag of small pearl tapioca.

-----

Classic Old Fashioned Tapioca Pudding

1/3 cup Small Pearl Tapioca
1 cup Water
2 1/4 cups Milk
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs, separated
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Soak the small pearl tapioca in water for an hour or overnight. Drain.

In a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan combine with milk, salt and lightly beaten egg yolks and stir over medium heat until barely boiling. Simmer uncovered over very low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir often.

Beat egg whites with sugar until soft peaks form.

Fold about 3/4 cup hot tapioca into egg whites, then gently fold mixture back into sauce pan. Stir over low heat for about 3 minutes.

Cool 15 minutes then add vanilla.

Serve warm or chilled, plain or with nutmeg or coconut mixed in.

Makes 3 1/2 cups.
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#25 inespm

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 05:04 PM

Hi. I use tapioca with cilantro juice or wasabi juice (after cooking the tapioca with water) and put it over ceviche and sushi for decoration

#26 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 10:56 PM

owwww, would you mind giving more details on that inespm? Welcome to The eGullet Society For Arts & Letters!!

#27 inespm

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for the welcome and sorry for my english... The tapioca absorbs every juice that you like to use. First I cook it with water for a lot of time (until it get clear), after that I make a clear juice (very concentrate) of any kind ok fruit, vegetable or fruit. Put the tapioca on the juice, let it there for about 15 minutes and take it out. The result is like caviar, and is very nice for decoration

#28 FoodMan

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for the welcome and sorry for my english... The tapioca absorbs every juice that you like to use. First I cook it with water for a lot of time (until it get clear), after that I make a clear juice (very concentrate) of any kind ok fruit, vegetable or fruit. Put the tapioca on the juice, let it there for about 15 minutes and take it out. The result is like caviar, and is very nice for decoration

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Welcome to The eGullet Society For Arts & Letters inespm!

This is a pretty cool idea. I am sort of new to cooking with Tapioca, so far I only used it in a Vietnamese dessert along with coconut milk and banana, I think I undercooked it here though. I also tried it a Thai soup with crab and duck, this was spectacular.

However, I really like your idea. It can be used for so many things. I am assuming u are using the small pearl tapioca, correct? Do the larger ones absorb flavor the same way or wil they take much longer?

Elie

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#29 inespm

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 05:11 PM

Thanks Elie. I cooked for about half hour in a lot of water, the small is perfect for decoring like caviar, the big ones I used like pearls over a oyster and with fruit juice for dessert in martini glass. I use the same time for big and small tapioca

#30 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 09:35 PM

The result is like caviar, and is very nice for decoration

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Wow, I really like that idea. I've got to find a dessert or mini pastry to work that into or on. Thanks for sharing!!