Tapioca/Cassava/Yuca is a tuber which is consumed in many part of the globe at a fairly reasonable amount. In India, Kerala consumes it the most. Srilanka is also a region where this is extensively used. African and Asian countries also widely use this as it is one of the filling meals which can be availed or grown in your compound without much strain. It is widely acclamined as a poor man’s food. But this poor man’s food has taken a gigantic leap in todays refined, gourmet food industry.
Tapioca can be found in different forms. Powdered, dried, pearls and so on. It is made as a wholesome meal, as a side dish, converted into desserts, cakes and cookies too. There are savory and sweet preparations with this tuber. Tapioca pearl pudding is the master piece amongst this. It is prepared world over. Creamy puddings and porridges are also very well known within every community. You can also find puddings and desserts like tapioca caramel, baked tapioca and the like in the dessert variety. Chips made with this tuber is a sought after snack in our region and now else where in the world.
This humble tapioca, once a staple of our region, is now in much demand. Locals as well as tourists relish this as an accompaniment to a meal with curries or as wholesome meals. The cost effective staple of the locals have soared high in prices due to its demand and wide gained acceptance. Five star hotels, wedding receptions and parties are that what made it a star. Not long ago, it was a mid-morning meal for the laboureres toiling in farms and construction sites. The production of this crop has gone down and the demand on rise which is making it a pricey thing in today’s world.
Unlike the sweet variety, savory versions are prepared in our region. Plain boiled tapioca is consumed by the poor as well as the rich, with the exception that affordable people pair it with fish/meat curries. There are many simple dishes made with this which is eaten as meals during lunch or dinner. Today I’m presenting one such dish which is super easy to make and tastes awesome too. Generally tapioca is made in two ways in my home state. Either it is boiled along with salt and paired with black tea or coffee or with shallots chutney. Otherwise it is boiled with turmeric and tempered with mustard, dry red chillies and curry leaves, accompanied with fish curry mostly or beef curry.
This coconut version of mine is also prepared in many areas. But I havent seen it as much as I make it at home. This version is also prepared in Srilanka too. Getting the right tapioca is the core point to be noted for this dish. Always cut and check for the tapioca when you buy it. It should be fresh and super white without much fibre which can be seen when you cut open it. Cook in plenty of water and drain the water out when its 3/4th done. Add boiling water to cook completely. Some tapioca might be bitter and you can drain out the excess starch content by doing this.
Mash up the tapioca when some water is remaining so that you get a soft gooey mash like end product. This will also help to retain moisture while you cook with the coconut and chillies. This is a complete oil free preparation. But if you are preparing it for special occasion like Easter, you can drizzle some coconut oil on top before serving. Adding generous amount of fresh grated coconut is the highlight of this dish. This what makes it creamy and tasty.
Chillies helps to balance the sweetness of tapioca and coconut. You can replace chillies with pepper powder if you prefer that or sprinkle some on top when you serve along with the coconut oil. An easy meal without much effort and a perfect one for the coming Easter too.
Cook till half done. Give a quick stir. Cook till 3/4th done. Drain the water.
Add some boiling water and cook till well done. Mash up with some chunks
Mix up well. Add salt to taste. Cook on slow flame till it simmers. Keep stirring as often as possible.
Cook for 5 minutes until the flavors of coconut and chillies get infused into the tapioca.
Serve hot as it is or with the curry of your choice.
Happy Easter !!!!!!