» Where foreign and local combine

Rio and A Small Tapioca Pancake


I went to Rio because of my friend Sarah-Jane, now you may wonder why, but like Costa Rica before, I like to go places that I want to go, but something spurs me further to go to a country for the people who are precious to me.

I went for her as much as me and I found so much more in Brazil then I anticipated. I was told about being robbed, I had heard the Copacobana song and I had seen photos of the Christ statue, a statue I now know as Corcovado. When there, all these things melted away and I just found people who I still consider the reason why I would return.

Only four days of my travels were spent there, but I was blessed to be couchsurfing and lucked out with a great host who introduced me to a few different Brazilian foods.

Within 30 minutes of arriving at her apartment, we were on the street walking to the local market for her first bit of guiding me through the city she calls home.

With some luck, the market was still running although most were packing up. We arrived at the Tapioca stall in time for her to buy me a tapioca pancake and give me my first taste of Brazil.

We then proceeded to go to a Chilean Party before finishing our day on the edge of Copacabana beach eating whole fish.

We did a lot that day, despite our exhaustion, but really neither of us went to bed that night wishing the day had gone any differently.

Now this pancake was unlike any ‘pancake’ I’d ever had before and my host told me there are several different toppings, however, the recipe below involves the two toppings the seller at the market made for me. The toppings chosen by my local Brazilian host who I can only trust to choose the best.

The pancake is so easy to make that it’s obvious why the toppings would vary.

Brazilian Tapioca Pancake
Serves 1

1/3 cup small tapioca pearls
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
Handful desiccated coconut

Heat the saucepan on medium-to-high heat. Place the tapioca pearls in a sift and dip into water before draining to ensure they are as dry as possible. Add a thin layer of tapioca to the warm pan.

Heat on medium-to-high heat and flip the pancake after a couple of minutes, both sides need to be slightly darkened.

Once cooked place on a plate pour the condensed milk and coconut.

Fold over and enjoy the taste of a little piece of Brazil.

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