For me, the safe starch thing is not a big deal. I think optimizing health is less a matter of macronutrients than it is of food quality. Everyone can determine for themselves (or with their doctor, nutritionist, etc) what is right for them. We are all individuals.
I love variety and try to eat a wide range of good food. But finding variety when it comes to carbs is not easy for me. I have some blood sugar issues, and white rice and most fruit spikes my blood sugar and gives me crazy sugar cravings. Our grocery store selection of tubers is pretty lame, so I am left with white potatoes and sweet potatoes as my main carb sources (other than starchy veggies like beets and carrots which I eat plenty of). So, I ordered some tapioca pearls with my last iherb order as an experiment. It went well! Delicious and no blood sugar spikes/cravings.
First, a little about tapioca. Tapioca is a refined starch from the cassava plant (also known as manioc or yuca), a cigar shaped tropical tuber native to Central or South America. Cassava’s defense mechanism, prussic acid, is poisonous, but it has mostly been selected against over centuries of cultivation (the original wild species has been lost or is unrecognizable). What prussic acid remains can be removed by peeling the skin, soaking, and heating.
Alrighty, enough words. How ’bout a recipe? This thing is scrumptious. It does have some honey, but not much. If you need more, add it. If you want to try it with none at all, I think it would be great. Go crazy. And let me know your results.
Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Milk
1/3 cup small tapioca pearls
A little less than 1 cup water
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
1 vanilla bean (Trader Joes has them or you could use vanilla extract)
1 cinnamon stick (or use powdered cinnamon)
2 tsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
First, soak 1/3 cup tapioca pearls in a little less than one cup water for 30 minutes to an hour. If you are really clever, you will soak the tapioca in the saucepan you will be using to cook the pudding.
Once soaking time is done, add the coconut milk, whisked egg yolks, and salt to the tapioca and soaking liquid. If you haven’t already, put this into a saucepan.
Take the vanilla bean and slice lengthwise with a knife. You want to just slice the top, and leave the bottom intact, so it opens up like a little package. You should then be able to use a spoon to scrape out the vanilla goodness paste that is inside the bean. Add this to the saucepan, along with the empty pod and cinnamon stick. (if you are using liquid vanilla and powdered cinnamon, add it at the end of the cooking)
Put the concoction on medium heat. Stir while heating until it boils. Then reduce to very low heat and simmer away for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add honey to the egg whites. I used this raw beauty from the Austin farmers’ market- yum yum yum. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Once the simmer time is up, fold a big spoonful or two of the tapioca mix into the egg whites. Then fold this back into the saucepan. Stir on low for 3 minutes or so. If you have patience, let it sit for a while. Serve hot, warm, or cold. Enjoy!