Manioc, cassava, yuca, tapioca. All these names lead back to one ingredient. A dark-skinned tuber with light flesh. It grows in tropical countries, having originated in Amazonia, and is used in place of potatoes. In the Czech Republic, you can buy it at Asian grocery shops, where it’ll be covered by a film of wax protecting it during transport.

Tapioca proper designates the small white pearls made from manioc starch. After cooking, I call them “frog eggs” – you’ll understand why when you cook them yourself! Cooked tapioca is used in bubble tea, but is also excellent in fruit purées.

Making tapioca isn’t entirely easy, but all you really need to know is what, when, and how much. It’s not like rice, which you toss into some boiling water and wait. Those who’ve made tapioca without having studied its properties have most likely encountered failure. Either the inside is raw or the pearls are mushy.

Rule no. 1: Pour the tapioca into boiling water and let it cook.

Rule no. 2: Let the tapioca sit in the boiling water (this is how the inside gets cooked).

Rule no. 3: Drain the tapioca immediately and cool it in icy water, so that the pearls become firm.

Rule no. 4: Consequently, you can marinate the tapioca in sugary syrup or fruit purée to give it flavour.

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Tapioca in Coconut Cream with Raspberries

Ingredients

Serves 4
Preparation 20 min.

100g tapioca (uncooked)
150ml coconut milk
1,2 l water
3 tbsp light cane sugar
pinch of salt
a pot of raspberries

Method

Bring the water to boil. Toss in the tapioca, stir, and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for 12 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the coconut milk with the sugar and a pinch of salt, just until it combines. Let cool.

Remove the tapioca from the heat, stir, and leave to rest, covered, for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a bowl with water and ice.

Drain the tapioca. Don’t worry if it looks like it’s disintegrated in the pot. Immediately transfer it into the bowl with icy water, and let cool for a couple of minutes.

Combine the drained tapioca with the coconut milk and sugar, and let sit in the fridge for 1 hour.

Leave a few raspberries aside for garnish, and mash the rest with a fork. Afterwards, just fill cups or bowls with alternating layers of tapioca and mashed raspberries. Decorate with whole raspberries and serve.

Tip: In winter, you can use frozen raspberries, which you can mash and heat, turning this treat into a warm dessert.