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Cassava root

Baked tapioca dish from Kerala, India

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tapioca(Portuguese pronunciation: [tpik]) is a starch extracted from
Manioc (Manihot esculenta ). This species is native to Northern
Brazil but spread throughout the South American continent. The
plant was carried by Portuguese and Spanish explorers to most of the
West Indies, and continents of Africa and Asia, including the
Philippines and Taiwan; it is cultivated worldwide.
In Brazil, the plant (cassava) is named mandioca, while its starch is
called tapioca. The name tapiocais derived from the word tipi'ka,
its name in the Tup language, which was spoken by the natives when
the Portuguese first arrived in the Northeast of Brazil.
This Tup
word refers to the process by which the cassava starch is made
edible. As the food and word were taken to other areas, "tapioca"
was also applied to similar preparations made with other esculents.
In the Philippines, tapioca is often confused with sago, as the sap of
the sago palm is often part of its preparation. A coarsely granular
substance obtained by heating, and thus partly changing, the
moistened starch obtained from the roots of the cassava. It is much
used in puddings and as a thickening for soups. In India, the term
"tapioca-root" is used to represent the root of the plant ( cassava),
rather than the starch. It is widely named as "" (kappa) in
In Vietnam, it is called bt nng.In the past, the starch
was extracted from Maranta arundinacea ( M tinh, hong tinh). In
Indonesia, it is called singkong. In Malaysia, it is called Ubi Kayu.
Tapioca is a staple food in some regions, and it is used worldwide as a thickening agent in various foods. It is
a gluten-free food.
1 Production
2 Uses
2.1 South America
2.1.1 Brazil
2.1.2 Other locations
2.2 North America
2.3 West Indies
2.4 Asia
2.4.1 Southeast Asia
2.4.2 Sri Lanka
2.4.3 Bangladesh and Bengal province (India)
2.4.4 India
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Tapioca kerala Colored, translucent tapioca sticks
Small, opaque pearl tapioca before
soaking Kerala Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka Tamil Nadu Northeast India
2.5 Africa
2.6 Europe
2.7 World War II
2.8 Flatbreads
2.9 Tapioca pearls
2.10 Biodegradable bags
2.11 Laundry
3 Nutritional value
4 See also
5 References
6 Additional reading
Tapioca is one of the purest
forms of starch food, and the
production varies from region
to region.
The cassava plant has either
red or green branches with
blue spindles on them. The
root of the green-branched
variant requires treatment to
remove linamarin, a
cyanogenic glycoside
occurring naturally in the plant, which otherwise may be converted
into cyanide.
Konzo (also called mantakassa) is a paralytic disease
associated with several weeks of almost exclusive consumption of
insufficiently processed bitter cassava.
In the North and Northeast of Brazil, traditional community based
production of tapioca is a by-product of manioc flour production
from cassava roots. In this process, the manioc (after treatment to
remove toxicity) is ground to a pulp with a small hand- or diesel-
powered mill. This masa is then squeezed to dry it out. The wet masa
is placed in a long woven tube called a tipiti . The top of the tube is
secured while a large branch or lever is inserted into a loop at the
bottom and used to stretch the entire implement vertically, squeezing a starch-rich liquid out through the
weave and ends. This liquid is collected and the water allowed to evaporate, leaving behind a fine-grained
tapioca powder similar in appearance to corn starch.
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Commercially, the starch is processed into several forms: hot soluble powder, meal, pre-cooked fine/coarse
flakes, rectangular sticks, and spherical "pearls".
Pearls are the most widely available shape; sizes range
from about 1 mm to 8 mm in diameter, with 23 mm being the most common.
Flakes, sticks, and pearls must be soaked well before cooking, in order to rehydrate, absorbing water up to
twice their volume. After rehydration, tapioca products become leathery and swollen. Processed tapioca is
usually white, but sticks and pearls may be colored. Since old times, the most common color applied to
tapioca has been brown, but recently pastel colors have been available. Tapioca pearls are generally opaque
when raw, but become translucent when cooked in boiling water.
Brazil in South America, Thailand in Asia, and Nigeria in Africa are the world's largest producers of cassava.
Currently, Thailand accounts for about 60% of worldwide exports.
South America
In Brazilian cuisine, tapioca is used for different types of meals. In beiju (or biju), the tapioca is moistened,
strained through a sieve to become a coarse flour, then sprinkled onto a hot griddle or pan, where the heat
makes the starchy grains fuse into a flatbread which resembles a grainy pancake. Then it may be buttered
and eaten as a toast (its most common use as a breakfast dish), or it may be filled or topped with either
salgados(salty ingredients) or doces(sweet ingredients), which define the kind of meal the tapioca is used
for: breakfast/dinner, or dessert. Choices for fillings range from butter, cheese, ham, bacon, various kinds of
meat, chocolate, fruits such as ground coconut, condensed milk, chocolate with sliced pieces of banana or
strawberry, among others. This kind of tapioca dish is usually served warm.
A regional dessert called saguis also made in Southern Brazil from tapioca pearls cooked with cinnamon and
cloves in red wine. The cassava root is known by different names throughout the country: mandiocain the
North, Central-West and in So Paulo; tapioca or macaxeirain the Northeast; aipim in the Southeast
(especially in Rio de Janeiro).
The fine-grained tapioca starch is called polvilho, and it is classified as either "sweet" or "sour". Sour
polvilho is commonly used in dishes such as po de queijoor "cheese bread", in which the starch is mixed
with a certain type of cheese similar to parmigiano (Parmesan), eggs and butter and baked in the oven. The
final result is an aromatic, chewy and elastic kind of bread that is ubiquitous across the country. Sour cassava
flour is mixed into mashed beans to make the dish tutu de feijo.
Other locations
In Colombia and Venezuela, arepas may be made with tapioca flour rather than cornmeal. Tapioca arepas
probably predate cornmeal arepas; among traditional cultures of the Caribbean the name for them is casabe.
Throughout both Spanish and Portuguese South America, the tapioca, or yuca, starch is used to make
regional variations of the baked cheese bun, known locally as pandebono , pan de yuca , po de queijo, chip,
or cuap, among other names.
The whole unprocessed cassava root also has a number of culinary uses throughout South America.
North America
While frequently associated with tapioca pudding, a dessert in the United States, tapioca is also used in other
Tapioca - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapioca
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Tapioca pudding
Tapioca chips, baked in sand
Tapioca cracker from Indonesia sold in
a Los Angeles, California market
Bubble tea, made with tapioca pearls, is gaining popularity
in cities with large Asian populations. People on gluten-free diets can
eat bread made with tapioca flour (although these individuals have to
be careful, as some tapioca flour has wheat added to it). Tapioca is
also used as an ingredient in the Canadian Daiya brand cheese
West Indies
Tapioca was used by the first inhabitants of the West Indies as a
staple food from which they made main dishes, such as pepper pot,
and also used it to make alcohol. They used it for teeth cleaning, and
it is still used as a base locally for toothpaste. In the 21st century, it is
still a very popular food in the islands, used as a provision cooked with meats or fish, and in desserts such as
cassava pone.
In various Asian countries, including Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Myanmar, Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan, tapioca pearls are widely used and are known as sagudana,
sabudana or shabudana (pearl sago) or "sabba akki" (: in Kannada). It has religious importance in
certain communities and used as a staple food for fasting. The pearls (sagudana or shabudana/sabudana) are
used to make snacks. Tapioca pearls are essential ingredients for Taiwanese Bubble Tea.
Southeast Asia
In Southeast Asia, the cassava
root is commonly cut into
slices, wedges or strips, fried,
and served as a snack, similar
to potato chips, wedges or
french fries. Another method
is to boil large blocks until
soft, and serve them with
grated coconut as a dessert,
either slightly salted or
sweetened, usually with palm
sugar syrup. In Thailand this
dish is called Mansampalang ().
Tapai is made by fermenting large blocks with a yeast-like bacteria
culture to produce a sweet and slightly alcoholic dessert. A variation
of the chips popular amongst the Malays is kerepek pedas , where the
crisps are coated with a hot, sweet and tangy chili and onion paste, or
sambal, usually with fried anchovies and peanuts added.
Krupuk, or crackers, is a major use of tapioca starch in Indonesia.
Commercially prepared tapioca has many uses. Tapioca powder is commonly used as a thickener for soups
and other liquid foods. It is also used as a binder in pharmaceutical tablets and natural paints. The flour is
used to make tender breads, cakes, biscuits, cookies, and other delicacies (see also Maida flour). Tapioca
flakes are used to thicken the filling of pies made with fruits having a high water content.
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A typical recipe for tapioca jelly can be made by washing 2 tablespoonfuls of tapioca, pouring a pint of water
over it, and soaking for three hours. The mixture is placed over low heat and simmered until quite clear. If
too thick, a little boiling water can be added. It can be sweetened with white sugar, flavored with coconut
milk or a little wine, and eaten alone or with cream.
Sri Lanka
It is known as "Mangnokka" in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, as well as by its Sinhalese and Tamil names. It is
generally eaten boiled with a chili onion mixture called "Lunu Miris Sambol" (type of a salsa) or coconut
sambol. At the same time, it is very popular to have tapioca pearls prepared as a delicacy. At one time,
tapioca pearls were used to starch clothes by boiling tapioca pearls with the clothes.
Bangladesh and Bengal province (India)
During religious fasts (), Sabudana is a popular alternative to rice-based foods. Consumed with curd
( ) or milk ( ) or prepared as a Khichdi, sago is particularly popular choice during the Fasts of
'Ombubachi' (), Nilshosthi () and Ekadoshi (). Traditionally, tapioca pearls are used as the
food for children, elderly and ill people, mixed with milk or water. Faluda (), a popular food, is also
prepared with curd, ice and other ingredient during summer.
Tapioca is a common ingredient of many Indian dishes and the most common form that is added into dishes
is in the form of Tapioca Pearls. Local words for Tapioca roots in India include: Malayalamkappaor
maraccni, Tamilmaravaiki lanku, Kannada sabakki()', Hindi () and saggu biyyam (
) Telugu language .
Cassava, often referred to as tapioca from its word in Portuguese, is called Kappa () Kizhangu or Poola
(in northern Kerala) or Maracheeni or Cheeni or Kolli or Mathock (), Poola ()in Malayalam.
Tapioca is widely consumed in the Indian state of Kerala, usually as breakfast or in the evening. It is boiled
(after skinning and cutting it into large cakes of about 68 cm long or into small 2 cm cubes) in water till
properly cooked, and the water is drained off. Once cooked, it can be mixed with grated coconut, chili, salt,
turmeric etc., then steamed and mashed into a dry pudding. This can be garnished in oil with mustard, onion,
curry leaves etc. if desired. Tapioca cakes (Chendan Kappa) are often eaten with simple chili sauce (a paste
of Green/Red Chili + Shallot + small red Onion + Garlic + Salt + Oil).
Tapioca pudding is paired with Meat / Fish curry. Tapioca with fish curry (especially sardines) is a delicacy in
Kerala. Tapioca pudding with Chutta Unakka Mathi (dry salted sardine directly cooked on charcoal) and
Green Chili is another popular combination. Kappa Biriyani is yet another Tapioca dish.
Tapioca can be stored for longer periods by parboiling and drying it, after skinning and slicing it into 0.5 cm
thick pieces. This is called Unakka Kappa or Vaattu Kappa (dried tapioca). Unakka Kappa pudding is widely
consumed in Kerala. Tapioca Chips, thinly sliced tapioca wafers, similar to potato chips, are also popular.
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
Tapioca is also available in Andhra Pradesh () and coastal regions, here it is called karrapendalam
( ) in Telugu. Cassava is called kanda("") or " " in Telugu. In Kannada, cassava is
called kolli or (mara genasu), and the starch product is known as (Sabbakki). In Telugu and
other regions of Andhra, its by product is also known as " ".
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Tapioca plant in early stage
Tapioca plant in full maturity
Tamil Nadu
In Tamil, the roots of tapioca are called Maravalli Kilangu, and are
used to prepare chips. Tapioca chips are also prepared in parts of
South India. Tapioca pearls are referred to as "Javvarisi" in Tamil.
Most of the delicacies are cooked from this form of Tapioca because
it is relatively easier to handle than the raw root by itself. In Tamil
Nadu, tapioca is cultivated more in the districts of Erode, Namakkal
and Salem. The cultivation of tapioca is manpower intensive only at
the time of planting and harvest. It provides a steady income to the
farmers. Tapioca called maravallikilangu can be consumed raw
(after removing the skins/outer cover). It can also be boiled and
different dishes like Uppuma (Tamil) can be made. It can also be
made into chips to use as snacks during tea time.
Northeast India
In Nagaland and Mizoram in Northeast India, tapioca is eaten as a
snack. It is usually boiled with a bit of salt in water after skinning it,
or snacks are made by drying the tapioca after cutting it. It is then
powdered into flour and turned into dough to either make a fired or
baked biscuit. In their local dialect, they call it kuri aloo, meaning
"wood potato". These chips are eaten by all groups of society as a
delicacy. The skin of the tapioca, which is not edible for humans, is
kept aside to prepare a food for domesticated pigs. In Assam,
sabudana is also used as substitute diet against boiled rice (bhaat) for the sick elderly or infirm for easy
digestion and strength.
Research suggests that tapioca was eaten in the regions of Nigeria and Ghana since pre-colonial times.
Viewed as the everyday-man's meal, it is usually taken for breakfast. The various tribes use it in multiple
Tapioca is not as widely used in Europe, but several countries make use of tapioca. In Belgium, small white
tapioca pearls are added to clear soups. Tapioca balls are used in French desserts, such as parfaits. The
savory snack in the United Kingdom, skips, are made of tapioca and flavored like prawn cocktail, as well as
other flavors.
Tapioca is also widely available in its dried forms and is used to make tapioca pudding.
World War II
During World War II, due to the shortage of food in Southeast Asia, many refugees survived on tapioca. The
cassava plant is easily propagated by stem-cutting, grows well in low-nutrient soils, and can be harvested
every two months, although it takes ten months to grow to full maturity. The plant provided much needed
carbohydrates and other nutrients during war times.
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Casabe baking in a small commercial
Taro flavored bubble tea
with tapioca pearls
A casabeis a thin flatbread made from bitter cassava root without leavening. It was originally produced by
the indigenous Arawak and Carib peoples because these roots were a common plant of the rain forests where
they lived. In eastern Venezuela, many indigenous groups still make casabe. It is their chief bread-like staple.
Indigenous communities, such as the Ye-Kuana, Kari-a, Yanomami, Guarao or Warao descended from the
Caribe or Arawac nations, still make casabe.
To make casabe, the starchy root of bitter cassava is ground to a pulp,
then squeezed to expel a milky, bitter liquid called yare.' This carries
the poisonous substances with it out of the pulp. Traditionally, this
squeezing is done in a sebucan, an 8 to 12-foot (3.7 m) long,
tube-shaped, pressure strainer, woven in a characteristic helical
pattern from palmleaves. The sebucan usually is hung from a tree
branch or ceiling pole, and it has a closed bottom with a loop that is
attached to a fixed stick or lever, which is used to stretch the
sebucan. When the lever is pushed down, stretching the sebucan, the
helical weaving pattern causes the strainer to squeeze the pulp
inside. This is similar to the action of a Chinese finger trap. The
pulp is spread in thin, round cakes about 2 feet (0.61 m) in diameter
on abudare to roast or toast.
Thin and crisp cakes of casabe are often broken apart and eaten like crackers. Like bread, casabe can be
eaten alone or with other dishes. Thicker casabe usually are eaten slightly moistened. A sprinkle of a few
drops of liquid is enough to transform a dry casabe into a very soft and smooth bread similar to the softest
slice of a wheat bread loaf. Because of its capacity to absorb liquid immediately, casabe may cause someone
to choke, but goes down quickly with a sip of liquid.
In Guyana, the casabeis called cassava bread. It is prepared with an instrument called a matape by the
natives of the Rupununi Savanah and other areas of the country that have a high concentration of
Amerinidians. In Jamaica, it is called bammy.
In Brazil, the cassava flatbread is called beiju or tapioca.
Tapioca pearls
Tapioca pearls are also known as bobain some cultures. It is produced by
passing the moist starch through a sieve under pressure. Pearl tapioca is a
common ingredient in Asian desserts such as falooda, kolak, tapioca pudding,
and in sweet drinks such as bubble tea, fruit slush and taho, where they provide
a chewy contrast to the sweetness and texture of the drink. Small pearls are
preferred for use in puddings.
Large pearls are preferred for use in drinks. These large pearls most often are
brown, not white (and traditionally are used in black or green tea drinks), but
today are available in a wide variety of pastel colors. They are also available as
an option in shave ice and hot drinks. In addition to their use in puddings and
beverages, a recent innovation has been to cook tapioca pearls inside cakes.
Biodegradable bags
Tapioca root can be used to manufacture biodegradable bags. A polymer resin produced from the plant is a
viable plastic substitute. Not only is it biodegradable, but it can be composted, is renewable, and is
recyclable. The product reverts in less than one year,
versus thousands of years
for traditional plastics.
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Tapioca starch is used worldwide for starching shirts and garments before ironing. It can be sold in bottles of
gum starch to be dissolved in water, or in spray can format.
Nutritional value
Tapioca predominantly consists of carbohydrates, with each cup containing 23.9 grams for a total of 105
calories; it is low in saturated fat , protein and sodium.
It has no significant essential vitamins or dietary
One serving of tapioca pudding contains no dietary fiber, a small amount of oleic acid, and no
omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids.
See also
Bubble tea
Pan de yuca
Tapioca pudding
Corn starch
Potato starch
^ "Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary tapioca"(http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/tapioca ). Retrieved
^ "Tuber Information"(http://www.kissankerala.net/kissan/kissancontents/tapioca.htm). Kissan Kerala. 2.
^ Thompson, T.; Dennis, M.; Higgins, L. A.; Lee, A. R.; Sharrett, M. K. (2005). "Gluten-free diet survey: are
Americans with coeliac disease consuming recommended amounts of fibre, iron, calcium and grain foods?"
(http://csaconference.homestead.com/survey.pdf) (PDF). Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 18 (3):
163169. doi:10.1111/j.1365-277X.2005.00607.x(http://dx.doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.1365-277X.2005.00607.x).
ISSN 0952-3871 (https://www.worldcat.org/issn/0952-3871).
^ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Roots, tubers, plantains and bananas in human
nutrition", Rome, 1990, Ch. 7 "Toxic substances and antinutritional factors". Document available online at
http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0207e/T0207E00.htm#Contents . Ch. 7 appears at http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0207e
/T0207E08.htm#Cassava%20toxicity. (Accessed 25 June 2011.)
^ Carolina Moura. "How to make tapioca pearls" (http://snapguide.com/guides/make-your-own-tapioca-pearls-
from-scratch/). Snapguide.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
^ Mydans, Seth (2010-07-18). "Wasps to Fight Thai Cassava Plague" (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07
/19/world/asia/19thai.html). The New York Times .
^ Clark, Melissa (3 March 1999). "Tapioca Moves Beyond Its Pudding Phase"(http://www.nytimes.com
/1999/03/03/dining/tapioca-moves-beyond-its-pudding-phase.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm). The New York
Times. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
^ "WWII Survivor Plants"(http://www.changimuseum.com/Chronicle/Chronicles%20body%20text%205.htm ). 8.
Tapioca - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapioca
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Changi Museum. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
^ "Casabe: Garfuna Yucca Bread" (http://www.stanford.edu/group/arts/honduras/discovery_eng/customs
/casave/index.html). Stanford University. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
^ "Bubble Tea Cake" (http://pie-314.blogspot.com/2012/06/bubble-tea-cake-updated.html). Pie-314. Retrieved
a b
"Ecoplas Offers Biodegradable Retail Shopping Bag Solutions"(http://eco-plas.com/). Ecoplas USA.
Retrieved 2010-10-19.
a b c
"Puddings, tapioca, ready-to-eat, fat free; one container refrigerated 4 oz. or 112 g"
(http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5525/2). http://www.nutritondata.com . Conde Nast. 2014. Retrieved
28 March 2014.
Additional reading
Sosa, C. (1979), Casabe, Editorial Arte: Caracas.
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Categories: Edible thickening agents Flour Flatbreads Unleavened breads Latin American cuisine
Basket weaving Crops originating from the Americas
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