7 Sweet Tapioca Recipes Worth Sticking Around For

7 Sweet Tapioca Recipes Worth Sticking Around For

We're celebrating the versatile tapioca on Tapioca Day! From the pearls of addictive bubble tea to savory pancakes, the American cassava plant is used in many delicious forms in everyday cooking

Ever had something sticky, chewy and slightly sweet? Chances are that it contains tapioca flour, a starch extracted from the roots of the cassava plant. Originally from Brazil (where it’s commonly referred to as Yuca), this unique gluten-free flour has been carried by Spanish and Portuguese colonizers all the way East, where it has ingrained itself in Asian food and culture. It’s a good substitute in small amounts when you lack glutinous rice flour or potato starch. Explore the amazing possibilities of this humble root below and let it stretch your imagination!

1. Kueh Bingka

The Peranakans have mastered the art of tea-time delicacies with their endless types of kuehs made from either glutinous rice, coconut milk, tapioca flour or a combination of all three. Their desserts are a colorful reflection of their culture and dressing – intricate, bright and oh-so-pretty. This Kueh Bingka may lack the rainbow shades of its cousins, but the chewy taste and golden crunchy top more than makes up for it. Cut your baked kueh into small rectangular pieces and pair a portion or two with an aromatic Kopi or Teh Halia. What better way to enjoy a lovely mid-afternoon break from the bustle of life than to indulge in this classic Nyonya combination?

2. Savoury Tapioca and Veg Pancake

Tapioca (or Cassava) is the root that binds them all in this Savoury Tapioca and Veg Pancake. If you ever craved for the famous street side Buchimgae or Korean pancake, this Asian take on the popular snack will definitely leave you wishing you made more. It contains a generous dose of refreshing vegetables such as carrots and purple cabbage, which are held together by the starchy tapioca flour. We suggest that you make the pancakes in smaller sizes first so that they are easier to flip. Serve up with a spicy dip and your dinner accompaniment or midday snack is good to go.

3. Cimol

Late for a party and totally forgot about the finger food you were supposed to contribute? Cimol is the super easy-to-make snack that you can whip up in under half hour to take along. It only has three key ingredients that most Asian households will always have – wheat flour, tapioca flour and garlic. You can simply swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth to create a vegetarian version as well. Vary the seasonings with what’s available in your spice cupboard – perhaps spicy for an all grown-up party, and herbylicious for occasions with kids – and you are all set for a treat that your loved ones can’t stop reaching for.   

4. Singkong Sawut Gunung (Cassava Mountain)

Can you believe this pretty Indonesian dessert takes two steps to make? That’s right, creating a beautiful Singkong Sawut Gunung basically only requires grating and steaming. Once the cooked cassava has cooled down, you can even involve the kids in shaping the final product if you don’t have the conical mold. For a fun variation, you can color different batches of cooked cassava with natural food coloring (think beetroot, matcha powder and tumeric) to build some multi-layered rainbow mountains that’s bound to attract everyone’s attention. Don’t forget to sprinkle some sweet and crunchy desiccated coconut (like snowflakes) over your mountain!

5. Sweet Potato Balls With Jackfruit  

These little Sweet Potato Balls With Jackfruit are almost too cute to eat and really simple to make at home. It’s a fantastic alternative use for your potatoes, and the tapioca starch adds the perfect amount of chewiness this bejeweled concoction needs. Pandan leaves create the heavenly aroma we all love, and jackfruits add a sweet contrasting bite to the softer balls. Plate them how you want in different transparent glasses or bowls, along with some white or colored sago to show off your lovely artwork. Drizzle some pandan syrup over your crafted gems and we promise that they will be all gone in no time. 

6. Burbur Cha Cha  

This Betawi (Austronesian people native to Jakarta city) and Malay dessert is literally happiness in a bowl. As you stroll through the cacophony of sounds on the lively streets of Penang, you might even hear the hawkers calling out "ooh-aah chay chay” to remind you that this decadent sweet option is just around the corner. Burbur Cha Cha translates into Dancing (Cha Cha) Porridge (Burbur), and we are certain that your heart will leap for joy like ours upon seeing this vivid and lustrous dessert. Balls of yam and sweet potato mingle with chewy bright pearls of tapioca amidst a pool of rich and creamy coconut soup in this traditional indulgence. Serve it up hot or cold depending on your personal preference (and weather conditions), and dig into this delightful treat!

7. DIY Bubble Tea

Is your favorite bubble tea stall too crowded? Or is the delivery wait far too long? Don’t worry as you can easily whip up this well-known and hugely sought-after beverage at home. For faster cooking, you can use pre-made tapioca pearls, but we so love the interesting shades you can design by adding natural food coloring in your own homemade pearl recipe. In either case, mixing up your very own Bubble Tea is not difficult at all, as the ingredients might be sitting around in your home this instance or in the minimart just a short walk away. The best part about making this at home instead of calling for a delivery is that you won’t have to deal with a melted and watered down layer on top!

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