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Tapioca flour: nutritional properties, traditional recipes and advice on use. Information on the use of the tapioca flour in cooking. Supply gluten free and alternatives to white flour.
Tapioca flour or cassava flour
ThereTapioca flouris a starchy flour extracted from the root of manioc, botanically known asManihot esculenta.Due to the common name of its plant, tapioca flour is often also called "cassava flour“, So it is the same product.
Cassava is a botanical species native to northern Brazil (which is why it is known as the Brazilian arrowroot) but has spread rapidly throughout the South American continent. Theremaniocwas exported to Europe by the Portuguese and the Spanish, today this plant is grown all over the world, including the African and Asian continent.
Theremaniocit is a very versatile food: fresh it is used for the preparation of soups, side dishes or first courses, almost like our potatoes.
Fresh cassava, sliced and spiced, gives life to tastyflavored chips. In Latin America, the plantManihot excludes (cassava / tapioca)it is often calledyucabut it is completely different from Yucca, a fruit-bearing shrub that has nothing to do with the asparagus family (that of cassava).
Theremaniocit is a tuber and can be considered an important source of carbohydrates in tropical countries, after rice and corn but undoubtedly more widespread than wheat.
Is tapioca flour bad for you?
No, but the tuber from which it is derived can be harmful to the body. The reason? Fresh cassava, before consumption must be properly prepared because it can containcyanurineof compounds that can cause cyanide intoxication or effects such as ataxia, paralysis… Lacassava flourthat we find on the market is obtained from varieties with a low concentration of cyanurines, moreover it is first detoxified (left for long periods in water), then dried and then ground. Thus thetapioca flourwidely used like thestarch.
Theretapioca flourit is one of the alternatives to white flour, it can be used as a thickener in soups, soups or creams and for the preparation of baked goods. Casabe is a thin focaccia made with tapioca flour, it is yeast-free and used as bread by the indigenous peoples of Latin America.
Theretapioca flourit is just one of the forms that cassava root is transformed into. The starches of cassava give life, in addition to tapioca flour, also with tapioca flakes, a water soluble powder, coarse grains, translucent rectangular sticks or so-called tapioca pearls.
All forms of tapioca just mentioned are always given by starch. Unlike the flour which can be used immediately, the flakes, tapioca pearls and sticks, before use, must be re-hydrated and soaked before cooking.
Gluten-free tapioca flour
There tapioca flour and naturally gluten free. Glutinous proteins are a peculiarity of cereals such as wheat. We remind you that there are many gluten-free flours, in addition to the one produced starting from the cassava tuber we remember the buckwheat flour, the rice flour and the carob flour.
Tapioca flour, nutritional properties
From a nutritional point of view, thetapiocacan not boastpropertytempting because it is mainly aboutstarch: consists mainly of carbohydrates. It is low in saturated fat, protein and sodium.
It is not a source of dietary fiber (per 100 g it provides 1.8 g), it is low in fat (0.3 g) but also low in protein (1.4 g). It's about aflourwithout particular nutritional glories but on the other hand, even the common white flour does not stand out for its nutritional values. Indeed, if we analyze the properties of wholemeal flour (made from soft wheat) we will see that industrialized white flour is not only poorer than its wholemeal equivalent but is even poorer in nutrients than tapioca flour.
Tapioca flour, nutritional values
The nutritional values reported refer to the raw material. We see that it provides a fair amount of B vitamins, folates, vitamin C, low percentages of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and a good potassium content (271 mg per 100 g of product, equal to 6% of the daily requirement. of an adult).
Tapioca flour, where to buy it
Tapioca flour is not easy to find in the supermarket, however, if you have a well-stocked one, just search the shelves dedicated to ethnic foods. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the online purchase, on "this Amazon page" for example, there are several proposals of tapioca flour, including organic ones.
Tapioca flour in the kitchen: recipes
Theretapioca flourit is used for the preparation of different dishes of the Brazilian food and wine tradition. Among the various examples we mention the tutù de feijão, a dish based on puree of broad beans (or beans) and tapioca flour. In Brazil, tapioca flour pancakes, as well as focaccias, are served for breakfast with a cheese or condensed milk cream filling.
Couscouz branco is a dessert prepared with tapioca flour, coconut milk and sugar, the texture is pudding and the taste is not bad at all! In Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in other Latin American states, thetapioca flourit is used for the preparation of Arepa, a baked product stuffed (like our white flour sandwiches) with cheeses, cold cuts but also avocado and vegetables. Arepa is produced from corn flour or tapioca flour.
Sandwiches made with tapioca flour are widespread throughout Latin America and bear Spanish or Portuguese nicknames, among the many names we point out the most common: pandebono, pan de yuca, Chipa, or cuñapé.
In North America and Europe, thetapioca flourit has spread for the specific dietary needs of gluten intolerant people. Theretapioca flourit is gluten-free even if at the time of purchase it is necessary to check that the product has been packaged in a factory that does not also process wheat flour.
In the photo below, theArepa with tapioca flour, for the recipe I refer you to the page:how to make the original arepas. In the original Venezuelan recipe, corn flour is used, however in Brazil the use of tapioca flour is widespread for the preparation of this recipe.