French crepes are hard to resist, especially when slathered with Nutella — or stuffed with eggs and cheese. But as delicious as these crepes are, they’re definitely not vegan or gluten-free and would hardly be considered a health food. But lately, a new kind of crepe has been on the Chatelaine Kitchen radar, one made with tapioca, instead of flour, butter and eggs.
To make tapioca crepes (also known as beiju in Brazil where they are a popular street food) you usually need to mix together tapioca flour and water. For a simpler approach, the Vancouver-based company Beiju Foods sells a pre-made mixture it calls Amazon Bread (it’s $9 for 660 gram and ships across Canada). It claims the pan-to-plate process take a total of five minutes.
Best of all, there’s no batter or even any prep work (unless you count heating a burner prep). All you need is a hot frying pan and a package of the Amazon Bread, which contains two ingredients: cassava starch (or tapioca) pre-mixed with water. If it worked, this crepe recipe would literally require no mixing. “Discover the magic,” reads Beiju’s package, so the Chatelaine Kitchen took them up on the challenge.
The Kitchen’s senior associate food editor, Carolyn Chua, fired up a burner and sprinkled the tapioca onto a hot
skillet. The heat caused the water to evaporate and yes, it’s true, the mixture magically came together to form a crepe. It was clear the crepe was ready when the edges pull away from the pan.
The crepes themselves have a chewy, almost crumbly texture, but they’re rather bland; it’s the sweet and savoury fillings that really bring them to life. You can fill them with anything you’d normally put in a crepe — from eggs, cheese and shredded chicken to preserves or dulce de leche. We filled ours with a medley of roasted vegetables; the contrast between the stark white crepe and colourful veggies created an Insta-worthy meal.
While the tapioca crepes we made weren’t quite as decadent as Nutella-filled French crepes, they make for a quick and filling bite — be it breakfast, an afternoon snack or a last-minute meal vegan or gluten-free meal. Just be sure to use a plate, or wrap your crepe well if you’re eating it on the go (they have a tendency to fall apart). And best of all, since tapioca crepes don’t stick to the pan, clean-up is, well, like magic.