Make Ahead

Mingau de Tapioca (Nigerian Tapioca Pudding)

April 21, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 6 - 8
Author Notes

Mingau is many things: a place on the northeastern coast of Brazil, in Bahia; then it is a porridge, made from different grains and cereals. There's mingau of corn, of cassava, of rice. In literature about Brazilian cuisine, it is described as everything from "thin gruel" to "infant food and drink." As a drink, think of it as the warm equivalent of Bubble tea. But on Lagos Island in Nigeria, mingau de tapioca is a porridge made from cassava granules - similar in size to small (2 -4mm) tapioca pearls, cooked in coconut milk and finished with a grating of fresh nutmeg, at its simplest. Though in Nigeria it is made with tapioca granules, tapioca pearls are a good substitute.

Want to hear more about Nigerian food? On our new podcast Counterjam—a show that explores culture through food and music—host Peter J. Kim talks dodo, jollof, egusi, and more with comedian Ego Nwodim and Afrobeat pioneers Femi and Made Kuti—check out the episode here. Kitchen Butterfly

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup tapioca granules (or pearled tapioca)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, or to taste
  • pinch of dried, crushed bay leaf (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • sweetener (sugar, honey, agave nectar, etc.), to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • Coconut cream, condensed milk, fruit jams, sauces, toasted nuts or cereal, to serve. Whatever you like!
  1. Soak tapioca in the coconut milk and 2 cups of water for an hour or two at room temperature so the granules absorb the liquid and soften
  2. In a pot or pan, combine soaked tapioca, ground cloves, cinnamon powder, bay leaf if using and a pinch of salt
  3. Cook on medium to low heat about 15 - 20 minutes, stirring with a (large) whisk so the tapioca doesn't clump up, cooks evenly and the bottom doesn't burn. Add a cup of water and cook till the tapioca swells, some granules become translucent and soften. Add the second cup of water so the resulting consistency is liquid, of single cream consistency. Add more water if needed to keep the consistency liquid.
  4. Once cooked through, sweeten to taste.
  5. Serve warm with a sprinkling of freshly, finely grated nutmeg. Add the toppings you like, whether it's fruit jams or toasted nuts.
  6. Leftover tapioca pudding keeps well in the fridge (In fact, I prefer mine reheated :)). The granules firm up and gel/jelly more. To reheat, add milk to taste and reheat gently on the stove.

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