Tapioca flour is commonly used as a food thickener. Tapioca flour is a natural ingredient and is free from gluten. Apart from changing the composition of food, it also renders a unique taste to it. If you ever run short of tapioca flour, you can use its substitutes as well. Substitutes with approximate quantity will help thicken food.
Tapioca flour is made from the roots of tapioca plant (Manihot esculenta), which is originally a native to Amazon. Today, the cultivation of this plant is carried out throughout the world owing to its plentiful uses in cooking.
Tapioca is also recognized by common names, like cassava, yuca, mandioca, aipim, boba, etc. The roots are ground to produce the starch, which is further processed to form powder, flakes, sticks, and pearls. Tapioca flour comes as powder, and due to its water-absorbing ability, it’s used in thickening gravies, soups, etc.
If you run short of tapioca flour while preparing any dish, then its substitutes will come in use. The composition of a substitute is almost similar to tapioca flour and so is its usefulness. The common substitutes are cornstarch, potato starch, arrowroot, rice flour, etc.
Substitutes for Tapioca Flour
You should know the exact method of preparing the substitute and the quantity required. Some other alternatives that you can use are kuzu powder, sago starch, sahlab, soy starch, sweet potato starch, sweet rice flour, and water chestnut flour. You can also use almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, and coconut flour as substitutes.
Measurement for Making Substitutes
1 tablespoon of cornstarch or corn flour = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca flour
1 tablespoon of potato starch or rice starch or flour = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca flour
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca
1 tablespoon of Arrowroot = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca flour
Tips to Use the Substitutes
No matter whether you are using tapioca flour or its substitute, if the quantity is not in proportion, the food might not acquire the desired taste. For example, if you are using the thickener for filling pies, then add 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour in one cup of water. You can also combine it with potato starch or rice flour to increase the density of soups, sauce, and stews. Xanthan gum is also an excellent substitute for tapioca flour. Mix tapioca flour with cornstarch or soy.
Uses of Tapioca Flour
Tapioca flour is largely used for making milk based dessert puddings and fruit juices.
In Taiwan, tapioca is widely used to add texture to tea. Tapioca pearls soaked in sugar is used to prepare bubble tea or pearl milk tea.
Tapioca flour is used in gravies and pie fillings.
It is also used as a thickener in stews, sauces, and soups. You can freeze it for sometime after mixing with tapioca flour.
You can even thicken dairy products with tapioca flour.
It’s used in combination with white rice flour for preparing pancakes, waffles, crackers, pizzas, and cookies.
Tapioca flour is commonly used to make French bread and white bread.
The substitutes can also be used for the same purposes. With so many alternatives at hand, you will not have to compromise with the taste of the dishes that you are cooking.