Tapioca Pilaf


Tapioca ranks right up there in the Cute and Curious Food category. People may have vague memories (good or bad) of tapioca pudding, but if you’re in the Special Diet camp you probably are quite familiar with tapioca being in the ingredient list of gluten free products.


Tapioca pearls are made from the cassava root, a tropical plant native to Brazil but is widely used throughout the world. Its sticky quality works well for thickening sauces and is a common ingredient in gluten-free flour mixes to help bind in a gluten-like kind of way. I love it in my gluten free samosa dough.

There are different sizes of tapioca pearls–this easy no-cook rinse-only method works well with the small pearls that are around 1/8 inch diameter and leaves the pearls fluffy but not not too soft. The result was a chewy, springy al dente pearl and a fun texture for pilaf.





A pilaf is usually made with rice that is cooked in a broth then a variety of vegetables, spices, dried fruits and sometimes meat are added to the grain. Being one who loves to stretch the boundaries of definitions I use the term for a variety of savory starch mixtures. Feel free to experiment with other pilaf ingredients and flavor combinations!




Tapioca Pilaf

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


Rinse in a strainer:

1 cup small-pearl Tapioca

Spread onto a plate and let rest for a few minutes.  

Rinse the tapioca and spread out on a plate again. 


Sauté in a pan for a few minutes:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds

1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds

1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds


1 small Onion, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon Ginger, grated or Ginger Juice

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

Sauté until onion is translucent.  

Stir in the rinsed tapioca.  Add:

3/4 teaspoon Red Chile, ground or Chili Powder

Taste and adjust. 

Garnish with:







This is what my sister does while lounging with shawls and scarves…she’s amazing!!





“No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.”


Sheryl Crow






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