Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Tapioca balls with pumpkin soup


Baking equipment:

  • large baking sheet
  • covered with non-stick baking paper


Soup (1.5 l):

  • 25 g butter
  • 1 peeled and chopped tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic, passed through a garlic press
  • 800 g peeled and chopped pumpkin (no seeds)
  • 800 ml (vegetable) stock
  • salt, sugar
  • flat leaf parsley


For approximately 18 balls:

  • 125 ml water
  • 125 ml milk
  • 75 ml corn oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • oil for your hands

In Brazil they are called ‘Cheese Bread’, Pão de Queijo, as the use of polivho doce, the starch of the cassava (Manihot esculenta), which we call tapioca flour, is very common. The gluten free cassava originally comes from the north of Brazil and is part of the ancient Native American food culture. It was exported to Africa by the Portuguese, where it became a staple food. The largest producers are now Brazil, Thailand, Congo, Indonesia and Nigeria. The name tapioca is a bit confusing, because we need a fine flour and not the little pearls from which our mothers made those scary slimy desserts. Tapioca flour is not available everywhere, but can be found in ethnic shops specialising in tropical foods and in some health food stores. In Brazil, these springy balls are in demand for breakfast, but can also be found in fast food shops throughout the day. They are usually eaten warm. They can be frozen separately before baking and put straight into the oven. The baking time stays the same. Serve with the Brazilian soup Quibebe and maybe a South American Chardonnay.

  • For the Quibebe, melt the butter in a pan. Add onion, tomato, garlic and peppers and sauté until the onions are glazed.
  • Add the pumpkin and the stock with salt and a pinch of sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes until it is mushy.
  • Whip with a handheld mixer. Do not use a blender, as the soup should retain some structure.
  • Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley before serving


  • For the tapioca balls, heat the oven to 180°C.
  • Boil water, milk, oil and salt in a pan. Sift tapioca flour and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the hot fluid and let it cool to tepid.
  • Knead a sticky dough, adding the eggs one by one and then the cheese. Oil your hands and form approximately 18 ping pong sized balls.
  • Place the balls on the baking sheet (covered with baking paper). Bake in the position just above the lowest in approximately 30 minutes until lightly browned.




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