The Trouble with Tapioca
You’d think cooking tapioca pearls isn’t rocket science. You buy the non-instant stuff and you have to boil it for a pretty long time until it becomes clear. The cassava root is super dense, it’s got weird molecular properties and an incredible amount of starch which makes for super strong thickening properties. The small ones are pretty easy. Boil until clear and your good. The large pearls however are a different story. You can cook it all day long and it just makes the water thick. Some say what you do is just soak ‘em and if you do this they do become clear but just doesn’t have the desired texture. And here I have eight Laotian cooks and they couldn’t tell me what to do, well they said “boil in water” but they didn’t tell me boil in lots and LOTS of water! The key is that you need 30 or 40 times the water volume then you have in pearls and just boil them for about an hour and a half… Your welcome.