Tapioca – An Experiment

Last night, I did an experiment.

I should start before last night.  Two weeks ago, I found a little Asian market here, and went in and bought some strange things, including some squid-flavored crackers for my mom.  In any case, I also bought a bag of large tapioca pearls.  They are multi-colored, and chalky-looking.

I followed the directions on the bag, though I only made the few you see above in the bowl.  The directions are fairly vague.  For example, it says to turn the heat down to medium once the pearls are ‘plump’.  It doesn’t give any indication HOW plump they should be, or how long this might take.  I just winged it.  They did plump up nicely.

CLICK HERE for a riveting video of the pearls dancing around in the pot as they boil.

When they got about the same size as Trix cereal pieces, I turned it down to medium, and put the lid on for 5 minutes as the directions told me.  They had already been cooking for 15 minutes.  When the timer went off, I drained them, and dumped them back into their bowl.

They were pretty, looking very much like multi-colored fish eggs.  They were still opaque in the centers, and I remember tapioca being translucent to transparent. The first photo is without flash, the second is with.  I think the flash brought out their colors a little better.

They looked very much like gelatinous Trix cereal.  It seemed only right to follow the bag’s suggestion and serve them with sugar and milk, so I did.  I ate them all, and they were undercooked.  I am curious how long I SHOULD have cooked them to make them right.  They were close to being done, but weren’t quite there…still a little more ‘Al Dente’ in the centers than I would have wanted.  I WILL try again, though.  Maybe if I just soak them in some whiskey…

Thanks for reading and commenting!

15 Responses to Tapioca – An Experiment

  • Hmmmmm, they do sound interesting. Please let me know when you found out how to cook them right, I want to try them when you get it right Since they’re served with sugar and milk, I would probably find them delicious. 🙂

  • Hi, Chris. I will be sure to let you know. 🙂 You’ll probably love it. It’s got a weird and cool texture!

  • Ok, after reading this I had to google ‘what is tapioca’. It’s supposed to come from the South American cassava plant, and it sounds like the Asian store had their own, fun variety. Now you can go on to try Sabudana Khichdi (Spicy Tapioca), which is an Indian dish I’ve never heard of before today.

  • Catherine – I’ll look that up. I’ve got this big bag of tapioca pearls to use up…

  • Um…I don’t think I’m even a little interested in gelatinous, Trix spheres. I hope your next batch is better.

  • Janet – I think I will be much more interested in them if they turn out the way they’re supposed to. Chewy in the middle was just NOT right. Happy Thursday!

  • That is certainly very colorful tapioca! It’s a party in a pot! Check Page 550 in “joy of cooking” and you will find that soaking the “pearls” for a period of time may help. Good luck next try.

  • Sonja (AKA ‘mom’) – Thanks! I will check that out. I found a couple things online, too, that tell me to cook them for WAY longer. I wonder why the bag doesn’t tell you that?!

  • See what you’ve done! Now I’m in the mood for tapioca pudding. Yum!

  • Sonja (AKA ‘mom’) – Me too. Too bad there’s never any around when you want it…and I think these particular tapioca pearls would be a little much for pudding. They’re huge!

  • Hilarious…I especially enjoy the pic of you preparing to take them into your suck-hole! 🙂 Oh Katie – the adventures you have with food!

  • Jen – Yeah, in this case, it’s ‘tapioca hole’, missy.

  • Ha! Fun experiment. I’m trying to picture what it would be like to actually eat giant tapioca, and it’s not working so well. That said, tapioca pudding is delicious. Now I want some.

    Of course, thinking of squid crackers (yuck!) kind of kills any kind of craving – including tapioca.

  • Caryn – It’s a unique experience, eating giant tapioca…especially undercooked giant tapioca. He he he. I will be trying it again, and next time, it WILL come out right. Then maybe we can move on to making actual pudding for the tapioca. 🙂

  • I never heard of such big tapioca. I make coffee tapioca pudding for Louie, but I can’t imagine the texture of huge tapioca balls. Sounds interesting, but I don’t think I’m that adventurous. Good for you for trying them.

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