Tropical white

As the longest nights held sway over Europe, I was walking barefoot in the Atlantic to celebrate the longest days of the year in the southern hemisphere.

We had taken some time out in north-eastern Brazil to top up with sunshine, vitamin C and traditional music.

My last visit was in 2000 and I was pleased to find that the "Ver o peso" chain of restaurants, where you pay according to the weight of your plate, had spawned numerous offspring. The formula, known as "self-service", lets you sample loads of vegetable, fruit and salad dishes while the omnivores get their kicks with delicacies like stewed goat.


I also fell in love all over again with tapioca, a pancake made with a kind of manioc flour called goma and sold on every street corner.

Home again with a packet of goma in tow, I learned that tapioca is not at all hard to make. You simply sift some goma, add a pinch of salt and spread enough on a heated frying pan (I used a 24cm cast-iron pan) to make a fairly thick pancake – no need for oil or liquid. Sprinkle with freshly grated coconut and leave to cook for a few minutes. You know it’s ready when the edges of the pancake start to curl up.

Tapioca dehors

I took a photo outside to highlight the tapioca‘s pristine whiteness before checking that it tasted just as good cold. Now I have to find out where I can buy goma in France because it doesn’t keep well and the little I have left is vanishing as fast as the snow…

2 Responses to “Tropical white”

  1. Berti says:

    sounds cool. as for the Goma, maybe a flour mill can help you out? I know there are a few in france but no idea if any near you.
    or the bigger supermarkets in bigger towns.
    hope you find it! or find a good replacement…….. some asian stores over here sell it too so maybe that might also be a option…….


  2. Pauline says:

    Hi Berti,
    We have flour mills around here but they don’t handle manioc, just locally grown grains. I do have an address in Paris though which I’ll be checking out next week and will report back if the news is good.
    BTW regular manioc flour (finer and drier than goma) is stocked by African grocers.

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