Tapioca Flour is also called Tapioca starch; it is a gluten-free flour that can be used in baking and as a thickener in soups, stews, and sauces. Today, I will show you how to make Tapioca flour from scratch using cassava roots.
What is tapioca flour?
Tapioca Flour is also known as Tapioca starch. It is made from the starch of the root of the Cassava plant. “Tapioca” is the starch extracted from the cassava root. This gluten-free flour is used for baking. It is also used in the coating of meat or fish when frying. Tapioca starch can be used for the thickening of stew and soups as well. Today, you will learn how to make your own easy homemade tapioca starch.
Tapioca starch is made up of a high amount of carbs and less protein and other nutrients. It is the starchy content in it that makes it a suitable choice for thickening soups and sauces; being a gluten-free flour, it is the best substitute for cornstarch, arrowroot flour, or potato starch.
Tapioca starch substitutes (replacement or alternative)
There are many substitutes for tapioca starch whether it is used as a thickener or in baking. Any flour used in baking can be used as a substitute for tapioca flour. The following are some substitutes or replacement you can use as alternatives to tapioca starch:
- Cornflour (cornstarch)
- Arrowroot powder
- Sweet potato flour
- Potato starch (Potato flour)
- Rice flour – not used for thickening of food but it is a good tapioca substitute for baking because it is gluten-free flour.
Tapioca Flour Recipes
Most baking recipes in which all-purpose flour or wheat flour is used can be made with tapioca flour as well. Some recipes in which tapioca starch is used are:
- Yorkshire pudding and Cookies
- Bread such as banana bread
- Fried shrimp and fish
- Boba (Tapioca pearls or balls) – used for making bubble tea
- Tapioca pancakes
- As a thickener in soups and stews
How to Make Tapioca Starch at Home
- Peel the cassava roots and wash them clean in order to get rid of sand
- Cut into small sizes that can be blended easily; if you don’t want to blend, you can use a grater to grate the cassava roots. You need a smooth paste so ensure to use the smallest holes on your grater.
- Mix the grated paste with water to have a runny consistency.
- Firstly, use a strainer to sieve the paste and collect the strained water containing the starch.
- Secondly, use a cheesecloth to further strain the initial starchy water collected in order to have very fine tapioca starch.
- Allow the strained starch to rest for about 2 hours; after 2 hours, the tapioca starch should have settled at the bottom of your container while the water remains at the top.
- Gently decant the water off so as to remain only the tapioca starch in the container.
- Use a spoon to scoop and break the hard and firm starch; spread it on a drying tray or a baking tray. You can sun dry it or use a dehydrator; I used an oven to dry my tapioca starch for 2 hours. When using the sun to dry tapioca starch, it takes a day or two for it to become dry completely.
- After drying the starch, pour into a coffee grinder cup and blend into a smooth powder.
- Use a very fine-holed sieve or cheesecloth and sieve your tapioca flour.
- Your homemade tapioca flour or tapioca starch is ready. You can store it in an airtight container and use it anytime for your tapioca recipes.
Comparisons: Differences and Similarities
Tapioca Flour vs Starch (is tapioca starch the same as tapioca flour?)
Both tapioca flour and starch all mean the same thing. The starch extracted from cassava is called “Tapioca”; therefore calling it Tapioca starch is simply a tautology but people often use both names to refer to the same thing.
Tapioca starch vs Cornstarch
The starch from tapioca flour is starchier than cornstarch; it is better used as a thickener and requires fewer amounts when using it as thickener compared to cornstarch.
Cassava flour vs Tapioca flour
There is a major difference between cassava flour vs tapioca flour; the cassava flour is simply the powder made from cassava root without extracting the starch from the roots; the roots are then dried and blended into a smooth flour. Cassava flour has more fiber and it is grainy. Whereas tapioca flour is made by extracting the starch content of the cassava root before being processed into flour. It is finer in consistency or texture than cassava flour because the starch of the cassava root is extracted and strained, then allowed to settle before processing the starch into a finer and smoother powder than cassava flour.