Is cassava flour the holy grail of gluten-free, grain-free cooking? It very well maybe. But first, there are 2 things you need to know about it.
Cassava flour is gaining momentum as a “go-to” gluten-free, grain-free flour. And it’s not surprising when you consider that those who follow restricted diets typically have to blend several flours to achieve the same consistency as wheat flour. You can even purchase cassava flour from various online sources.
1. CASSAVA FLOUR IS GLUTEN, GRAIN, AND NUT-FREE
The cassava plant is a staple crop to millions of inhabitants in South America and parts of Asia and Africa. The plant produces the cassava root, a starchy, high-carbohydrate tuber – similar to yam, taro, plantains, and potato.
As a tuberous root vegetable, cassava is gluten, grain, and nut-free, as well as vegan, vegetarian, and paleo.
2. CASSAVA FLOUR IS NOT THE SAME AS TAPIOCA FLOUR
While sometimes the terms cassava flour and tapioca flour are used interchangeably, there are in fact distinct differences. Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root through a process of washing and pulping.
The wet pulp is then squeezed to extract a starchy liquid. Once all the water evaporates from the starchy liquid, the tapioca flour remains.
Alternatively, cassava flour is the whole root, simply peeled, dried, and ground. This means it has more dietary fiber than tapioca flour – and allows me to make cassava flour tortillas, which would not be possible with tapioca flour.