Tapioca maltodextrin is a modified starch that thickens and stabilizes fatty compounds. It is produced from tapioca starch and comes in the form of a white powder. Maltodextrin has been used for some time as a fat-substitute in commercial products because it is easily digestible (similar to glucose) and retains its properties when frozen/thawed.
In the kitchen, tapioca maltodextrin can be used to bind fat and turn any high-fat ingredient into a powder. Upon consumption, the powder immediately reconstitutes in the mouth. This technique is usually applied to desserts (peanut butter, nutella, marshmallow fluff). However, it can have savory uses (bacon fat, foie gras).
When using tapioca maltodextrin, fats should be liquified, chilled, and combined in a starting ratio of 60% fat to 40% maltodextrin. The mixture should be blended and passed through a tamis (or sieve).
Example: At Grant Achatz's restaurant Alinea, caramel powder is made by combining crushed caramel and tapioca maltodextrin. The powder is served in a shot glass, garnished with salt.