I come from a Brazilian State named Minas Gerais. It is one of the major producer of coffee in Brazil and most of my relatives plant coffee. If you go to England, you will enjoy the tradition of having a cup of tea. But if you go to Minas Gerais, you will appreciate a delicious cup of coffee, made only with freshly harvested grains. This is an especial tradition that unites people around the table not only to drink coffee, but also to have a “Quitanda”. “Quitanda” is a collection of divine treats like polenta cake, Brazilian cheese bread, cream biscuit, and sequilhos. My grandma has a lot of passion for making these treats and then gets together friends and family at her home. It was a great pleasure for her baking and rejoices people, and we also could see that. The treat that most represents this passion are the sequilhos. Besides its wonderful flavor, it is gluten free and perfect for all kind of Tea Parties. These little sweet circles are made with sour tapioca flour, sugar, butter and eggs. The biggest surprise about this story is that my grandma, helped by my mother and aunts, also used to prepare the tapioca flour itself in the farm. Nothing was purchased in the market, making all the process extremely laborious.
Tapioca flour is made with cassava roots, which are widely used in Brazilian cuisine. Nowadays, it is very common to find tapioca flour in Asian and Brazilian markets, but in the past, each family had to prepare its own tapioca flour. My mother explained me how they used to make it. To obtain tapioca starch, they peeled and grinded the roots. The dough obtained was rinsed several times for the total extraction of the starch. With the process of decanting, the tapioca starch was separated from the water mixture. To get the sour type, the starch was maintained for a fermentation period and then dried in the sun. The sour type is considered a starch modified by oxidation, whose main characteristic is its expansion property without the use of leavening agents (baking powder or yeast).
Sequilhos are not difficult to make. You just have to mix all the ingredients together. This was the first time that I made sequilhos and I tried to make them with the same passion as my grandma. She used to flavor them with lemon zests but I made it different, I used coconut. The results were light and soft biscuits.