Flour is an indispensable staple to innumerable cultures. Be it cakes, or bread, or even pasta, flour makes a difference in all kinds of dishes.
There are more than ten kinds of flour that are widely used all over the world. Any essential powdered grain can be given the name of a flour. One could powder nuts, beans, seeds, or even rice- it would still become some kind of flour.
Similarly, there is one type of flour known as Tapioca flour. In this article, we will discuss its root and how to make use of it.
What is Tapioca Flour?
Tapioca is a starch that is produced from the root of cassava. This tropical tree was initially discovered in a village of Brazil, where it was known as yucca.
It is most popular in the African and South American regions. They prepare a huge chunk of their regular meals from tapioca flour while it is only used in a few kinds of dishes in the rest of the world.
Today, it has gained prominence all over the world as a gluten-free flour. It acts as a savior to all the people suffering from a gluten allergy.
How is it used?
The most significant function of Tapioca flour is that of a thickening agent. It shows a great affinity towards gelling. Therefore, it can act as a great thickening agent while making pudding or jelly.
This will especially come in handy while preparing a dish without gluten. Despite being gluten-free, it offers the specific services of gluten.
A Few Remarkable Features of Tapioca Flour
There are a number of factors that one must keep in mind while dealing with Tapioca flour. We will be listing down the most remarkable ones below:
A Good Substitute for Starch
It can be considered as a better alternative to cornstarch since it harbors the ability to sustain a freeze-thaw cycle. It does not break its gel structure in the duration of the process, while cornstarch, in most cases, fails to do so. This is why it will act as an ideal thickener while preparing frozen yogurt desserts or ice cream. However, because of the similarities, cornstarch can still be used as a substitute for tapioca flour if you want to.
Tapioca does not have any flavor of its own, which makes it easier to use it in any possible recipe. Tapioca starch is usually available in pearls, instant flakes, and flours. The pearls are available in all kinds of sizes. It is typically white or off-white, but they can be dyed into any other color with the help of food coloring.
If mixed with water, it becomes opaque, but it transforms into translucent nature after being hydrated.
Storage and Shelf Life
Since Tapioca is starch, it can be stored for an indefinite amount of time. It just needs to be kept in an air-tight container to protect it from getting dampened or unnecessary heat. However, it is also essential to keep in mind that it must not be stored in a freezer or a refrigerator.
Being a starch product, Tapioca is wholly carbohydrate. The presence of any other nutrient is found to be negligible in Tapioca. If a person is looking to consume a low-calorie diet, then tapioca will not be advisable for them: 150 grams of Tapioca contains approximately 544 calories.
How to use Tapioca in any dish
Tapioca pearls or flour need to be soaked in water for at last 12 hours before using it in any dish. Then it must be boiled for some until it forms the gel structure.
It can be used in recipes like:
- Bubble tea or boba tea
- Yogurt desserts
- Any gluten-free baked dishes