Soft little pillow buns
The story starts like this…on an impulsive buying spree, I had bought some tapioca flour not really knowing what to do with it. I shoved it into a dark corner of the store room. Soon I was questioned why it was sitting in the pantry and occupying valuable real estate! So I tried to find a recipe to use my whimsical flour efficiently.
Tapioca/Cassava is close to all Malayalis’ heart and stomach. We love eating tapioca steamed, boiled, fried and grilled and still cannot get enough of it. In Kerala tapioca is called Kappa, although it has got nothing to do with the Greek alphabet! We consume Tapioca in every form, from fresh to dried and in many dishes. In the heat of Summer, these roots are washed, sliced with the skin intact, par boiled, then sun dried and stored. I have seen big sacks of these stashed in a special room called ‘Nilavara’, a store room, in our ancestral home. These dried slices of tapioca are soaked and cooked with black beans and spicy coconut mixture mainly during Monsoon season when food is scarce. The thought of that dish is making me drool right now!
Tapioca is good source of starch and used lavishly when fresh from the farm. Dried slices of tapioca is coarsely powder to make puttu and a fine powder to make Ada, a sweet dessert. As I had some ilayada recently, I wanted something different.
Tapioca being North Brazilian in origin, I trusted them to have a good recipe to use my tapioca flour and I was not wrong! I saw these soft mini buns here – Brazilian-Cheese-Bread and fell for it. When I tried out, it was unbelievable! I screamed ‘Eureka’, on my first trial! This puffed bread is crispy outside and chewy, soft inside. I halved the ingredient as I was not sure of the outcome…but it just amazed me!!!
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- ¾ cups cheddar cheese
- Combine milk and oil and boil on medium heat until bubbles appear.
- Add salt to tapioca flour and mix well in a large bowl.
- Remove the milk from heat and add tapioca flour to it when still hot.
- Mix it well and it will turn sticky and gelatinous.
- Transfer the dough to a mixer while still warm and mix it at medium speed.
- Cool it until warm to touch.
- Whisk the egg in a small bowl and add to the cooled dough.
- Mix everything in the mixer.
- Next, add cheese into it and beat until well mixed and the dough turns stretchy.
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Oil a non-stick baking sheet or use parchment paper on a baking tray.
- Dip two spoons in water and scoop the batter and put it on the baking tray as small mounts.
- Place it apart with allowance for expansion.
- Turn down the heat to 350° F before baking.
- Bake it in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from oven when they have puffed with the dried outside starting to brown.
- Eat them when they are warm.
I got 14 puffed tapioca breads using my ingredients. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. Warm it in a convection oven before eating to get the combination of hard crust and pillowy, soft center. It is crunchy and cheesy when eaten warm. If eaten cold it is elastic and not very pleasant.
The original recipe used Parmesan cheese but I used cheddar as I was too lazy to change and go shopping. I realized that adding an extra pinch of salt makes it tastier. Parmesan being a stronger cheese must give it a slightly different flavour.