Yesterday I shared a recipe for Feijoada, a black bean stew from Brazil, to celebrate the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. I mentioned farinha in that post. Farinha is basically coarsely ground tapioca flour that has been toasted. It is served a top the feijoada. It gives and interesting crunchy texture and also can control the “soupiness” of the bean by absorbing moisture. It also serves the purpose of extending the number of servings.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have farinha in my local grocery store. And while I don’t mind taking a trip to the nearest ethnic food store, I often don’t think about things far enough in advance to allow for the trip. Also, can I just put in a side note here, taking three kids to any store is awful, let alone driving for 30 minutes and then taking them to an unfamiliar store.
Anywhooo, I didn’t make it to any store that had farinha. So I started thinking, how could I get around it? Farinha is tapioca. So, I figured how about just getting some tapioca and making my own farinha.
Let me say, that this is not exactly the same thing, but it was close enough for me and my husband (who is the farinha expert and the one who really likes it), said it was a pretty good substitute. Farinha is a pretty yellow-ish color and my version was more of a tan, but eh.
Start with small pearl tapioca, not quick tapioca or instant tapioca. The label should state that the tapioca needs to be soaked before use. The other stuff has already been boiled dried again.
Put about 1/2 cup in your blender. Pulse it until it is a coarse flour consistency. You don’t want powder, but you don’t want lots of big pieces of tapioca either.
Place it in a large skillet. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter.
Toast it over medium high heat, stirring constantly until you start to smell a nutty flavor. Then remove from heat and continue stirring until it has cooled enough to touch. It is very easy to scorch this, so be careful and really stir constantly.
It is really crunchy stuff. It kinda has the texture of sand. I found that left out overnight, the texture softened a little and it was a little more pleasant. But again, the farinha expert assured me that the real stuff has the texture of sand.
That’s it! You have a mock farinha in case you can’t find the real stuff, don’t have time to wait for Amazon, or are just too lazy to try (no judgement.)