Neighborhood Kitchens

Muqueca's Tapioca Cuscuz

Tapioca cuscuz is a traditional dessert from the northeast of Brazil. Sweet and flan-like, it is extremely popular throughout the South American country. It is prepared from a cassava starch, known as tapioca, and mixed with freshly grated coconut, sugar, and milk or water.


2-1/2 cups sugar
2 qt. Charlotte mold baking pan
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 lb. tapioca flour
1 qt. milk
1 can coconut milk
Dash of salt
Prunes, or other fruit of choice


To caramelize the mold baking pan, place 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Stir constantly with a spoon until the sugar dissolves and becomes a dark amber color.

Pour the caramel into the bottom of the mold baking pan. Hold it on the top and cover the bottom and the sides of the pan with the caramel, working quickly so the caramel does not get hard. Sprinkle a handful of grated coconut on top, then set it aside.

To make the cuscus, combine the tapioca, milk, coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and a dash of salt in a pan over medium heat, and mix together.

Stir continuously while cooking. When it starts boiling, stir for 3 more minutes then turn the burner off. It should be creamy but not too thick.

Pour the cuscuz into the caramelized mold baking pan and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

To serve, unmold it in a serving round platter that can hold the caramel sauce. Decorate with prunes (or any other fruit or berry), caramel syrup and condensed milk.

Serves: 14

NK_LogoChef Fátima “Fafa" Langa opened Muqueca in Inman Square. She shared this recipe with us when she was featured as our guest on Neighborhood Kitchens.


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Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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