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A starch extracted from the cassava plant. The tubers are pulped and dehydrated and the dried starch, the tapioca, is formed into whitish beads of various sizes called ‘pearl tapioca’. It is also made into flour, flakes and granulated to make ‘instant tapioca’. Tapioca can be used as a thickener in soups and desserts and pearl tapioca is used in milk puddings or baked egg custard puddings.