Tapioca Crepes. A Brazilian Delicacy
In Brazil, tapioca can refer to several different products derived from the cassava1 plant. One of them is plain, rustic2 flat-bread. This type of bread looks more like a crepe and is often called a tapioca crepe. It is made of a fine starch3 known as pohilho doce or goma, which is produced from the fleshy rootstocks4 of the cassava plant.
After the rootstocks are grated5 and pressed, they yield a milky-white liquid. The liquid is set aside to allow the solids6 to settle to the bottom. The liquid is then discarded, and the solids, a starchy mass, are left to dry in the sun.
Tapioca was a staple7 food of the Indians. Later, Portuguese settlers found tapioca to be a good substitute8 for bread. It was not until a few years ago, however, that tapioca caught the eye of some inventive9 Brazilian chefs10, who decided to convert it into a trendy item11 on their restaurant menus.
Wishing to please a more select public, the chefs came up with new versions of the crepes, adding their flair12 to an old favourite. Today tapioca crepes have become a great success, giving a special charm to Brazilian cuisine. Quite a few acclaimed restaurants owe their fame to their crepes.
Why not try making these crepes yourself? They will delight your family and friends and will broaden13 their tastes as well.
Making Tapioca Crepes
Ingredients for eight crepes:
3 cups polvilho doce, 350 millilitres water, and a little salt.
Directions: In a medium-size bowl, sprinkle water over the polvilho doce and the salt, and combine them with your fingertips. Gradually add more water while rubbing the mixture between your hands until it resembles coarse14 crumbs15 and you are able to shape it into a ball that does not stick to your hands. Then press the ball through a sieve16. It is now ready for making crepes.
Heat a non-stick17 20-centimeter skillet18 over medium-low heat. Put one eighth of the mixture in the skillet, and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Cook for two to four minutes or until the mixture sticks together and forms a flat cake, separating from the pan at the edges. Turn with a plastic spatula19, and cook the other side for a minute. Repeat this process with the remaining mixture. Stack20 the cooked crepes.
A new face can be given to tapioca crepes by adding different fillings. For breakfast, try spreading butter on them while they are still hot, and then add two tablespoons of freshly shredded21 coconut. Or you can pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crepes, add coconut, fold the crepes, and serve.
1 cassava – маниока
2 rustic – сельский
3 starch – крахмал
4 rootstock – корневище
5 to grate – натирать (на терке)
6 solids – сухой остаток
7 staple – основной
8 substitute – заменитель
9 inventive – изобретательный
10 chef – шеф-повар
11 trendy item – «гвоздь сезона»
12 flair – талант
13 to broaden – расширять
14 coarse – крупный (состоящий из относительно крупных частичек)
15 crumb – крошка, кусочек (чего-либо печеного, чаще всего хлеба)
16 sieve – сито
17 non-stick – антипригарный
18 skillet – сковорода с длинной ручкой
19 spatula – лопаточка
20 to stack – складывать
21 shredded – нашинкованный
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