What Are Tapioca Pearls Made of? Find Out the Truth!

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Lauren Zembron
Lauren Zembronhttps://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/
I am a 34 year old living outside of Boston with my wonderful husband, energetic daughter, sweet son, and playful dog. I have degrees in both psychology and guidance counseling, and have worked in a variety of school settings. I strive to find a balance between the two basic food philosophies of “eat to live” and “live to eat“. I believe that food should be (and is!) one of the great pleasures of leading a healthy lifestyle.
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Many of us never fail to buy a cup of boba tea during our day out. A sip of the flavored tea along with a bite of the soft and chewy boba or tapioca pearls is a taste loved by the masses.

But apart from their name and taste, most of us don’t know much about tapioca pearls. This leads us to one of the most frequently asked questions; what are Tapioca pearls made of? 

The starch to make boba is extracted from the root of cassava plants, and it then undergoes several other processes to be made consumable. Curious to know what they are? Read further to find out! 

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How Tapioca Pearls Are Prepared?

What Are Tapioca Pearls Made of

Tapioca pearls are mainly created commercially, but they can also be made at home with a few easy steps. The content below elaborates how tapioca pearls are extracted and processed from cassava to be produced commercially. By following some simple instructions, you can do the same at home!

Commercially:

This is how tapioca pearls are mass-produced in factories:

  • Cassava plants are put inside cassava processing machines, where the impurities are removed while extracting the tapioca starch. 
  • The starch is then boiled in water until it reaches a thicker consistency.
  • After boiling, it is then kneaded similarly like a dough.
  •  The dough is cut up and rolled into several tiny balls.
  • The tapioca balls undergo the process of gelatinization, drying, and freezing, until they are ready for consumption.

At Home:

You can make your favorite boba tea or other tapioca inclusive dishes by creating your own tapioca pearls at home! You simply need 3 ingredients: tapioca starch, brown sugar, and water. 

  •  Add brown sugar to boiling water and slowly incorporate the starch flour.
  •  As the mixture cools, knead it as you would a regular dough, then cut and roll them into little spherical shapes.
  • Dust them with tapioca starch so that they do not stick to each other.
  • Finally, the previously dusted tapioca pearls need to be boiled in water till they begin to float.
  •  Reduce brown sugar syrup in a separate pot and then add the boiled tapioca pearls. 
  • After they have cooled a bit, add the pearls to any dessert of your choice.

Using similar steps, you can also create flavored tapioca pearls by adding them to flavored syrup instead of brown sugar for enhanced taste and sweetness.

Dishes That Can Be Created with Tapioca

How to make Black Tapioca Pearls

Tapioca was first introduced in Asian cuisines. The famous bubble tea originated from Hong Kong and then later gained popularity worldwide. Several countries nowadays use tapioca starch and pearls to create a variety of dishes.

Although tapioca pearls are mainly utilized to create desserts, Tapioca itself can be also used to make numerous savory dishes. For example, tapioca starch can be utilized as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour to make gluten-free bread. Other savory dishes include tapioca curry, dumplings, fritters, etc.

As for desserts, tapioca pearls can be used to make Taho, a delectable Filipino dessert, Sagu, a deliciously sweet Brazilian dish, tapioca pudding, etc. To make a quick and easy treat, try adding sweetened tapioca pearls to your preferred flavor of ice cream

For example, tapioca pearls in matcha ice cream harmoniously cut through the slight bitterness of the matcha, creating a delicious and unique taste.

Does Tapioca Have Any Health Benefits?

tapioca pearls health benefits

Tapioca not only helps to create several delicious dishes but also possesses various health benefits. Many properties of tapioca starch aid in maintaining good physical condition. Some of these properties have been listed down below:

Easily Digestible:

Tapioca can help patients suffering from digestive issues as it is easy to digest and can even help to reduce intestinal pain. Its extensive fiber content acts as a probiotic and can therefore terminate unpleasant bacteria in the body and help reduce inflammation. 

Hypoallergenic:

Tapioca is safe to be consumed by people suffering from a gluten allergy, nut allergy, and celiac disease as it is free from the triggering allergens. Therefore, an allergic reaction to Tapioca is extremely rare, and most people can consume it. 

Helps with Weight Gain:

People struggling to gain weight greatly benefits from Tapioca as they are high in carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy, and are rich in calories. Tapioca helps to gain weight in a quick and healthy manner.

High in Essential Minerals:

Cassava itself contains properties that aid with the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and iron, and Tapioca is a substantial source of the stated minerals. Thus, Tapioca aids in maintaining healthy bones, properly functioning red blood cells, etc.

Tapioca Pearls and Their Side Effects:

Tapioca on its own may contain several health benefits, but when added to sugary desserts, can become the primary source of weight gain.

As it has a higher carbohydrate content than wheat flour, be conscious of your daily tapioca intake. By drinking a single regular-sized boba tea, you may be using up your recommended sugar consumption for the day.

Impurities must be removed properly during the extraction of Tapioca from the cassava roots. Otherwise, consumption of Tapioca may cause cyanide poisoning and therefore lead to paralysis. This is because, cassava in its raw form is naturally toxic, but processed Tapioca is safe to consume.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Tapioca pearls cancerous?

No, Tapioca pearls aren’t cancerous. There were some reports surfacing online, but till now, no scientific evidence has been found relating Tapioca pearls to any kind of cancer. 

Are Tapioca pearls chewy?

Yes, it is chewy. 

What happens if you swallow boba without chewing?

It can be risky for you as the pearls don’t dissolve instantly when completely expanded. 

Final Words

Tapioca is a very versatile ingredient with which many dishes can be created. This article has explained what are tapioca pearls made of, along with a few usages of them in recipes and their benefits and possible side effects. 

Some might claim that the texture and taste of tapioca pearls are only enjoyed by people with an acquired palate. Yet the majority of people have openly professed their love for tapioca pearls. As long as it is consumed in moderation, tapioca pearls are a recommended tasty treat. If you haven’t tried this popular delicacy yet, don’t hesitate to give it a go!

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