© Denzil Green
Tapioca Starch is tapioca ground into a fine flour. Tapioca is the ground root of the Cassava plant.
Tapioca starch contains none of the substances that grain-based starches do which can mask tastes. It makes a very clear gel.
Commercial food processors sometimes use a tapioca starch called "native tapioca starch." This is tapioca starch that hasn't been "modified" through further processing to make it dissolve more quickly; it must be cooked. Nor does it have the same thickening power as the tapioca starch we consumers use: almost 50% more of it is needed. Food processors use native tapioca starch in thickeners, gels and as a stabilizer; it can't be used in foods that will be frozen or heated.
The type of tapioca starch that you are likely to encounter as a consumer will dissolve completely with little effort on your part.
With fruit, combine the fruit, sugar and tapioca starch and let stand for about 15 minutes before cooking
Because the molecules in tapioca starch spring into action at a lower temperature than that required by other starches, it will thicken dishes more quickly. You can use it to correct a sauce at the very last minute. Don't use too much, though. Tapioca starch gives a high-gloss to whatever you use it in: perfect for fruit pies, perhaps odd in sauces such as gravy.
Flour or cornstarch (one for one.) Or, if you have Instant or Pearl Tapioca, grind those in a blender or food processor.
1 cup Tapioca Starch = 4.5 oz in weight = 125g
1 tablespoon Tapioca Starch = 8 g
Store at room temperature
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Tapioca Flour; Farine de tapioca (French); Farinha de tapioca (Portuguese)