|pão de queijo|
|tutu de feijão|
|tapioca pudding, brazilian-style|
But the tapioca I was offered — and that I declined — was the grainy "pancake" that is most identified with Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, and that even many Brazilians outside of that state don’t know. It was only a few months ago, after a restaurant called Macaxeira — with the sign "Tapioca is our specialty!" — opened near us, that I finally tasted my first tapioca. I thought it was boring and bland and fairly pricey for what they offered. What’s the big deal? I thought. Then a friend of mine suggested with her wise smile that I try again, this time from one of the two street vendors here in town (if tapioca is known at all, it’s known as a street food). I couldn’t believe how good it was!
|The tapioca cart in the center of town|
|Hurry, just a couple of bags left!|
1. Heat a small, teflon pan. You can put a little butter in the pan, or not.
2. Pour in about a half-cup of goma, or more, or less. (There are no rules.) Start spreading it out with a spoon until if flattens into a disk. It will start to "glue" together quickly.
3. Add your filling on one half of the disk. Hear we're doing banana with cinnamon.
4. Fold the empty half over the filled half.
5. Serve. (It does taste better, however, if you dish the dish and eat it with your hands.)
Here are some suggested fillings, but feel free to go wild:
For breakfast — plain butter, jelly, butter and cheese, just cheese, banana, banana with or without powdered cinnamon, any other fruit you want, scramble or fry or poach an egg, pour maple syrup on it, or honey, some fried bacon, or incorporate whatever you usually have for breakfast into the tapioca . . .
Lunch/Dinner — ham and cheese, other lunch meats or cooked leftover meats, strips of chicken, chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, make a BLT, tomato with mozzarella and oregano, roasted vegetables . . .
Dessert — chocolate sauce, nutella, doce de leite (dulce de leche up there in the States), shaved coconut, nuts, caramelized fruits, butterscotch sauce, whipped cream, ice cream, fruit syrups . . .
(Oh, and for those who care, tapioca goma is gluten-free!)