These Brazilian crepe-like pancakes are a popular street food made with manioc (tapioca) flour. They are cooked to order with a variety of sweet and savory fillings like cheese, coconut, or chocolate. With this simple recipe, you can make them at home.
To make the crepes, manioc starch is moistened with water, then sifted through a fine sieve to produce a snow-like powder. When this is sprinkled onto a hot skillet, it quickly melts together to form a crepe. If you're brave enough, they're also easy to flip and you can try tossing one into the air with the skillet.
There are many videos online that demonstrate how to make these interesting crepes. Since they are unusual, it's recommended that you watch one in order to get an idea of the technique and speed required. Simply search "como fazer tapioca vídeo" and you will find several to choose from.
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup water (approximately)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Optional: filling of your choice
- In a medium bowl, place the tapioca starch.
- Add the water gradually, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring with your fingers as you go. The mixture will form clumps that you can break into smaller clumps with your fingers.
- Keep stirring and adding water gradually until the entire mixture is in the form of medium to small clumps. You will know if you add too much water because the mixture will start to flow like a thick liquid. If that happens, add a little more starch until you find a good balance.
- Pass the moistened starch through a very fine sieve into a clean bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir the starch in the sieve to help it pass through.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working quickly, evenly sprinkle the sifted starch over the entire skillet in a thin layer. Let the crepe cook for about 30 seconds, or until the crepe slides easily in the pan.
- Flip the pancake over with a spatula or by tossing it in the air and catching it with the skillet. Cook for 30 to 40 seconds or so and remove to a plate. Wipe the skillet clean after each crepe and repeat.
- Fill the crepe with desired your fillings and fold in half or roll it up. The crepes should be served warm because they will stiffen as they cool.
Tapioca crepes are good for breakfast and can be served with butter alone. They can also be filled with anything you like. Popular choices include cheese, shredded beef, guava, sweetened condensed milk, coconut and coconut milk, and a chocolate fudge filling similar to brigadeiro candy.
If you fill them with cheese, return the crepes to the skillet for a few seconds to melt the cheese. You can also add the cheese on top of the crepe while the second side is cooking after it has been flipped.
Selecting Manioc Starch
Manioc starch comes in two varieties, sour (azedo) and sweet (doce). Sour tapioca starch has been fermented briefly before processing. Some recipes for tapioca crepes call for sweet starch and some call for sour. It's a matter of preference but either one works well.