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 (cheese, shredded beef, guava, sweetened condensed milk, coconut and coconut milk, and even a chocolate fudge filling similar to brigadeiro candy).
To make these crepes, manioc (tapioca) starch is moistened with water, then sifted through a fine sieve to produce a snow-like powder.
When this powder is sprinkled onto a hot nonstick skillet, it quickly melts together to form a crepe. They even flip easily, if you are brave enough to toss one into the air with the skillet.
There are lots of homemade videos online about how to make these interesting crepes, and I recommend watching one since they are so unusual. Just search "como fazer tapioca vídeo..." and you will find several from which to choose.
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup water (approximately)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Filling of choice
- Place the tapioca starch in a medium bowl.
- 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, as the mixture will start to flow like a thick liquid. If that happens, just add some more starch.
- 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, sprinkle the sifted starch evenly over the whole 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 if you are brave). Cook for 30 to 40 seconds or so and remove to a plate. Wipe the skillet clean after each crepe and repeat.
- Fill crepe with desired fillings and fold in half or roll up. Serve crepes warm because they will stiffen as they cool.
Note: Tapioca crepes are good for breakfast, just with butter. If you fill them with cheese, you can return them to the skillet for a few seconds to melt the cheese. Or you can add the cheese on top of the crepe while the second side is cooking after it has been flipped.
More About Manioc (Tapioca) 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.