Easy recipe for Brazilian manioc or tapioca crepes, these delicious gluten free crepes are made with tapioca starch and can be filled with grated coconut, butter, cheese, or condensed milk. This recipe and text is contributed by our guest blogger Andressa Vieira.
Tapioca is how we call a sort of “crêpe” made out of manioc or cassava starch. It’s a very common street food in Brazil’s North and Northeast regions, and cherished in almost every home. It’s also called “beiju”, and it was created by the indigenous people who lived in Brazil before Portuguese colonization.
Tapioca crepes are extremely simple to make. And it basically requires only three ingredients: tapioca flour, fresh coconut, and salt. You can fill it with added cheese, butter, shredded beef (charque), or you can make sweet variations, with banana, chocolate or condensed milk (it will cook slightly and becomes a sort of doce de leite/dulce de leche). Important thing is that you can’t leave the coconut out, and it needs to be fresh. The manioc taste is too neutral, and it absorbs the taste of other ingredients.
We serve it with hot black coffee. With good company, coffee + tapioca is for us what afternoon tea is for English people : )
Our passion for this simple recipe is really great. It can also be eaten by itself, with no fillings or toppings, but just a drizzle of butter, or “bottled butter” (manteiga de garrafa), a type of butter that never solidifies.
The “tapioca do alto da Sé” (tapioca served in a very famous slope in Olinda, Pernambuco State) is considered a Cultural and Immaterial Heritage. There, you can see many food huts with women selling tapioca for locals and tourists, all year long.
The most “difficult” part is to grate the coconut, and to sieve the tapioca starch. When you buy the tapioca starch, you’ll need to put it in a large container and pour in some water, to cover it with about 1 ½ inch of clean water. Even if the package says that the tapioca is ready to use, it’s necessary to do so. Then, cover the recipient and leave it in the fridge for about one hour.
After about one hour, you’ll notice that the starch is condensed at the bottom and the water is over it. Then, discard all the water, get a clean kitchen cloth and press it over the starch. Dry well and let the tissue absorb the water.
Then, you sieve or strain the tapioca starch, to obtain the “flour”. It’s easier if you have a big sieve. I used a small one because I didn’t have another. To make it easier, use your clean hands instead of a spoon to sieve the starch. Then, you can add salt to taste. If you don’t sieve all the tapioca, again, cover the rest in the recipient with water and leave it in the fridge. Stored this way, it can last for a long time.
Easy! I hope you enjoy this recipe : )
Brazilian manioc or tapioca crepes
with tapioca starch and can be filled with grated coconut, butter, cheese, or
- 2 ½ cups of tapioca starch
- Salt to taste
For the filling:
- 1 cup of fresh coconut grated
- Condensed milk 1 tablespoon per crepe
- Cheese 1 slice per crepe – I recommend coalho cheese, but you can use any cheese that melts easily and has not a strong flavor
- Other filling options include shredded beef (charqufor a savory crepe or banana and chocolate for a sweet tapioca crepe.
Preparing the tapioca starch:
- Place the tapioca starch in a container and add water, the water level should be 1 ½ inches above the starch.
- Cover the container and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- The starch should be at the bottom, discard the water, and press a clean kitchen towel on the tapioca starch. Let the towel absorb any moisture.
- Use a mesh strainer or sieve to strain the tapioca. Add a little bit of salt to the strained tapioca.
To make the manioc or tapioca crepes:
- In a hot frying pan (it doesn’t have to be non-stick), put about 2-3 tablespoons of tapioca. You can put more if you like it thicker.
- Spread and even the tapioca flour using the back of a spoon.
- Wait a few minutes, until the edges start to stick out the pan. The starch will melt and the grains will become a solid crêpe.
- Then, you can fill it with the grated coconut, cheese and butter or create a sweet variation, with coconut and condensed milk, for example.
- Fold the tapioca and press the edges to seal it. Let it cook for a little while longer and serve immediately, otherwise it becomes rubberish. Tapioca crepes can’t be frozen.