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Tapioca (Yuca) Pancakes

Sometimes kitchen experiments turn into disasters, and sometimes you do end up with some great accidental recipes in the process. This time the agenda was the world cup soccer final and as our tradition goes, my son wanted me to cook up something from the finalist countries. Though Germany and Argentina were in the finals, I wanted to show empathy to the beautiful host country and keep Brazilian food as the main theme. I had in my mind this Brazilian fish stew 'Moqueca' made with fish, veggies and herbs cooked in coconut milk. To go with the stew, I wanted to make something with Tapioca (Yuca or Cassava) which is a staple in Brazil and many other South American countries. The tapioca did not turn out the way I wanted it to, but I got 2 interesting recipe ideas in the process. One is this oh-so-easy pancakes and the other an even easier dish which I will post soon.

Now talking about tapioca or yuca, it is a staple in many South American countries and around the world including our own Indian subcontinent. It is a good substitute for a gluten-free or a grain free diet. You can use tapioca either freshly cooked or via tapioca flour in place of grains or other carb sources like rice, wheat, etc.

  • Tapioca (Yuca) root - 1 (Medium)
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup (I used dried coconut, but fresh would work too)
  • Green chilly - 2-3
  • Fresh ginger root  - 1 inch long 
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste 
  • Coconut oil - 1-2 Tbs (for the pan) 

  • Cut the tapioca root into 3-4 pieces, peel off the skin completely using a sharp knife. Cut into big chunks, wash and rinse a few times in fresh water.
  • Boil about 4 cups of water and add the tapioca chunks and turmeric powder. Cook till tapioca is just cooked enough (firm and not mushy) in about 6-8 minutes.
  • Drain completely and keep aside. Once it cools down, you can directly make the pancake or keep the cooked tapioca refrigerated for making the pancakes (or anything else) later. 
  • For the pancake: chop the cooked tapioca into smaller chunks, add them to a dry blender or food processor. Add shredded coconut, green chillies, chopped ginger, cumin seeds, and salt and process everything till they resemble a meal and slowly starts to bind together. You can do this in batches. 
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix everything well and form a very firm dough. Make small lime sized balls out of the dough.
  • Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan. Apply some coconut oil on your palms and press the tapioca balls between your palms. Cook on medium heat till golden brown on both sides. 
  • Serve them with your choice of topping - salsa, chutney, guacamole; be creative. Enjoy !!


  1. Interesting recipe - will have to try it the next time I see fresh mandioca root for sale. I was surprised by your use of Yucca to refer to Cassava/Mandioca(br)/manioc as I was pretty sure that yucca was the spiky thing we have in our garden. A bit of seach revealed Yuca (yoo-ka), a name I'd never heard before. It seems as though the confusion between Yuca and Yucca is common though:

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for pointing out the difference between yucca and yuca, to be frank, I did not know :-(
      I have updated the post :-)

  2. Delicious kappa pancakes mini Lovely recipe.


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