One of the gifts I got during the week was Tapioca. Tapioca pudding is something that I ate during my childhood days and while it was an occasional breakfast treat, it was one that gave me a good feeling every time I did eat it. As breakfast cereals go, Tapioca pudding would be on my list of the top five. Interestingly though, Tapioca is not a cereal. It is made from the starch of Cassava. So, technically, it should not be called classified as a breakfast cereal but a meal. Also, nothing also stops you from having some Tapioca any time of the day that you want.
How do you make Tapioca pudding? Well, there are many recipes for Tapioca from different parts of the world – Africa, South America, and Asia. Apart from the Tapioca pudding, there is Sagu made from boiling the tapioca and soaking in red wine with sugar and the Tapioca Crepes.
In Nigeria, there are also different recipes for Tapioca pudding. The Tapioca pearls, as the dry, starchy and white granules are called, are often soaked before cooking. The duration of soaking depends on the form in which the tapioca comes. If it comes as really large granules or flakes, it would be soaked overnight.
The Tapioca I was given had some powder as well as a bit of granules and it took just about 15 minutes for about 300g of Tapioca to absorb the water and get really soft. Before I left it to soak, I was weary of sand particles that could be in the Tapioca so I sieved off the first water I added and re-added some more for it to soak.
There are many variations in making the Tapioca pudding but what I did was to get coconut milk from one coconut and I put it on the fire to boil. I added some sugar (one tablespoon) and a pinch of salt. Then I poured the soaked Tapioca into the coconut milk and I allowed it to cook for about 15 minutes. It had a translucent appearance and it had a lovely flavor.
Other variations in recipe include adding eggs and milk. I was tempted to add some mint leaves but this was the first time I was making it by myself and I decided to make it as simple as possible (especially because I was going to serve it to my Toddlers and adults in my household).
Tapioca on its own contains mainly carbohydrates with no significant vitamin and mineral content. Dietary fibre is also low. The coconut milk adds to the fat content and gives some protein. So, to improve the nutritional value enough to serve it to toddlers, I added some bananas and some milk. This gave it some needed protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.