Monday, February 21, 2011

My Favorite Bread Alternative

This is why I haven't blogged in a while...
It has been quite a while since I last blogged, and for that I apologize.  I posted a photo of me above, in case you were wondering what I've been so busy doing.  I just got back from a vacation to Florida where (in between tanning sessions at the pool and beach) I gave my family a crash course on how to eat better.  Whenever you're a strange eater and you go home to visit family, there are inevitably questions about your culinary preferences.  After so many years of this, my family is actually incredibly accommodating, driving me around town for ingredients and tolerating my many special needs.  Some memorable conversational tidbits?  "Neely, I don't understand how you eat so much," upon seeing my breakfast.  Every. single. morning.  Or "Ewwww, it smells like cabbage in here now.  Gross."  My favorite quote of the week, though, was when we were driving past a tattoo parlor discussing whether or not my mom, sister and I should get tattoos.  My mom's response?  "Well, I have always wanted a tramp stamp."  She insisted she was kidding...    

Back to food, though.  The question I was asked the most over the week was about my famous (well, among my 3 friends and me) tapioca crepes.  "How do you make those?  They look delicious!  What's the recipe?"  I told my mom I'd write her an email with the recipe in it, but here's a blog post instead, Mom.

First of all, though, what is tapioca?  What you've probably conjured in your mind is the tapioca pudding that your grandmother used to make - super sweet, really sticky little balls.  Well, it does come in ball form, but you can also buy it as flour.  For you Boulderites, it's also the "boba" in your boba tea at Pekoe.
Tapioca, also known as cassava, cassada, cassaba, yuca (not to be confused with yucca), akpu, kabba, and mushu, among many other things, is the starch of the root of a woody shrub in the spurge family.  It's the third largest source for carbohydrates in the WORLD.  That's why it has so many names - it's found in all parts of the world, but is native to South America.  It's a fantastic source of food, but only if it's processed appropriately.  If you just sit down and eat a raw cassava root, there's a good chance you'll get cyanide poisoning and die, so don't do it.  Leave it up to the pros to soak, ferment or cook it and then put it in a tidy package for you before you eat it. 

While tapioca is not technically on the list of acceptable foods for Paleo eaters, it's not a grain, and it's not a legume.  It's certainly not dairy and it's not a potato, so I'm calling it good.  I make an exception for it because I love - LOVE - bread, and this yummy substance makes sticky, stretchy, bread-like foods.  I would be lying to you if I said it offered much in the way of nutrients to your diet besides carbohydrates.  It's a pleasure food.  It's an energy food for active people who can't seem to get enough carbohydrates on the Paleo diet from fruits and veggies.  And it's gluten free, of course.  You can make crepes, pancakes, muffins, cakes, bread, or whatever you want out of this stuff.  I just happen to like very simple recipes, so I make crepes.  I eat them with my egg scrambles.  If I need a dessert once in a while, I'll cook one up and put a bit of honey and coconut oil on it.  Or I'll wrap some salmon salad up in one.  All good options.  If anyone has any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.  

Here's the recipe:

Tapioca Crepes 1:1:1
(makes 5-7 crepes)

1 C Tapioca Flour (or "Starch" - same thing)
1 C Organic Coconut Milk (Native Forest cans contain no BPA)
1 Pasture Raised Egg
1. Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl.   
2. Heat up coconut or olive oil in a pan on medium low until a drop of water sizzles in it. 
3. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the mixture and tilt the pan in all directions to spread out batter to desired thickness.
4. Cook both sides until very lightly brown.
5. Add salt and any other herbs (sweet or savory).
6. Enjoy!

I usually make one and then put the rest of the batter into a mason jar or other tupperware (preferably not plastic) and store it in the fridge for up to a week.   

Allergen Note:  If you can not eat eggs, you can substitute the egg for 2 tablespoons of water and it turns out just as well.

Oh, and if you don't like my crepe recipe, if you google "tapioca recipes", you'll come up with 818,000 results (which I won't list here), so knock yourself out.  If you do try this one, let me know how it turns out!

Until next time.


  1. Can't wait to try this. I'm slowly getting into this, Neely. No sugar, no pop and no more frappacinos. Glad to say that I am already feeling better.

  2. I am going to try these this week, with both savory and sweet ingredients! Thanks Neely. Kate

  3. They are a little different. I didn't make the first one thick enough, and it seemed to take forever to cook (it was still a little gooey even after cooking for a long time), but overall not bad. I ate it with some homemade strawberry jam in it!

  4. Is the picture an actual picture of your tapioca crepes? Because I followed this recipe to the letter and the color and consistency are completely different.

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