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I happen to love tapioca. Tapioca is extracted from cassava, a starch native to South America and the Caribbean. It is grown world wide, and is cultivated throughout Africa and Asia. It is able to grow in less than ideal conditions, and is the main food source for 500 million people. The roots are rich in calcium and vitamin C and contain a nutritionally significant quantity of thiamine, riboflavin and nicotinic acid. Cassava starch contains 70 percent amylopectin and 20 percent amylose. Cooked cassava starch has a digestibility of over 75 percent. Cassava also goes by the names of yuca, mogo, manioc, mandioca and kamoting kahoy, so any of you that have read Elizabeth Elliot’s books, of Steve Saint’sbooks, or really very many missionary books, have heard of manioc.  Even as I read the books, I never associated them with my childhood dessert of Tapioca.

Manioc Tuber

Tapioca has gotten a bad rap in our society. Many people don’t like tapioca and I’ve never figured out why. It’s yummy. I think it’s the texture, the little balls in the tapioca. Never mind, I still love it. For years I’ve been using the instant tapioca. Now, it’s pretty good. But I decided I wanted real tapioca. I fell in love with it at Thai restaurants – they almost always have it.  I prefer it warm, but I like it cold also. In other words, I just like it.

One of the ways you can tell I like something is that I start experimenting. For example, back when I could eat gluten, I loved a specific wheat cereal and I invented about 50 different ways to cook it, for variety. I ate it all the time. So, since I love Tapioca, it is to be expected that I would start experimenting with it. I am sure there will be many more recipes to come. I can already think about them, mint chocolate tapioca, raspberry tapioca . . . well, you get my meaning. So without further ado, here is Mocha Tapioca.

  • 3/4 c. tapioca
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/4 c milk
  • 1/4 t. salt (very optional)
  • 1 1/4 c coffee (can use espresso for a stronger flavor)
  • 2 1/2 T. chocolate syrup
  • 1/3 c. cup coconut sugar (may use real sugar or xylitol)
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 T. vanilla extract (may use less, I am an extract junkie)
  1. Soak the tapioca overnight in the water (this is the primary difference from instant tapioca to homemade tapioca. Oh and flavor and texture.
  2. Drain the tapioca
  3. At this point the original recipe calls for cooking in a double boiler. If you have one great, go ahead and use it. I however, do not, so I just use a big 3 or 4 quart saucepan.
  4. Put the milk and the coffee in the pan and heat until just room temperature (if you are using hot coffee and cold milk, you can probably skip this step). Add tapioca and salt, cover and cook for one hour over very low (I forgot this step so if you’re in a hurry, it didn’t hurt).
  5. Beat egg yolks and sugar together. Add a little of the hot mixture to this and add to the tapioca mixture.  Add to the tapioca mixture and cook until thick (about 15 minutes). Here is where lazy moi comes in. I let it get hot enough that it’d be boiling if I wasn’t constantly stirring. Either way you have to constantly stir, and my way is faster and more sure.
  6. Beat egg whites until stiff and add to Tapioca. Add vanilla. Stir. Serve warm or cold. Note: sometimes I skip the step of separating the eggs and just add them to the Tapioca. However, then you will sometimes get a piece of egg white that is cooked in your tapioca. If you are just cooking the tapioca for yourself, who cares? If it’s for company, follow these instructions.

Serves 8 with only 89 calories.

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