Tapioca is well known and loved in many parts of the world.
The wide variety of dishes that can come out of tapioca pearls is what makes it so popular, especially for those with a sweet tooth.
From pudding to tea, the options are endless.
In honor of National Tapioca Day, here are some things you probably didn’t know about tapioca:
It’s Not The Same As Rice Pudding
When you think about the word tapioca, many of us think about rice pudding. However, this is a common misconception. Tapioca pudding bears a striking resemblance to arroz con leche, but they are two completely different dishes.
Tapioca comes from the starch of the cassava root. The small balls you see in your favorite dishes are called tapioca pearls.
These small, grainy, rice-like balls give the texture to dishes such as tapioca pudding and can be confused with rice. On the other hand, arroz con leche is made with rice, milk, and sugar.
In the mood for arroz con leche? Try this classic recipe. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, swap out the rice for tapioca pearls and enjoy the difference!
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 whole cloves
- 4 cups water
- 1 egg
- 3 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk 12-ounce
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup raisins optional
- Salt pinch
- Soak the rice, cinnamon sticks, lemon zest, and whole cloves in the water in a large saucepan for 1 hour.
- After soaking, bring the rice mixture to a boil on high heat, uncovered. When it starts to boil (about 5 minutes), lower the heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes until the water has evaporated.
- While the rice is cooking, beat the egg in a bowl. Add the milk and stir well to mix. Add the egg mixture, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and condensed milk to the rice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring carefully, until it thickens slightly or until the desired consistency, about 20 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold. Garnish with powdered cinnamon.
Tapioca Is What’s Used in Boba Tea
For boba tea lovers all around, have you tried to make some at home but thought it wouldn’t be possible because of the sweet pearls? To your luck, boba tea is actually made from tapioca pearls.
You can buy tapioca pearls at the grocery store, or if you want the most natural version, you can find the powder version at a health food store such as Whole Foods.
Tapioca Originated In Brazil
As previously mentioned, tapioca comes from the starch of the cassava plant. Although the cassava plant is now planted in many places around Latin America and the United States, the original cassava plants originated in Brazil.