Tapioca/Cassava known as “Kappa” in Malayalam, is an edible, starchy, tuberous root of a plant. Tapioca roots contain significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients. Tapioca must be cooked properly to detoxify it before it is eaten.(Courtesy: Wikipedia)
Tapioca is more popular in the South of India. It used to be considered as poor man’s staple food years back but not any more. Infact, off late it is being considered and served as a delicacy even in five star hotels. Like potato, tapioca can be eaten soft boiled or prepared as a curry. Any Keralite foodie will highly recommend Kappa with Meen(fish) Curry. Such is the popularity of this particular combination. Here is the recipe of a tapioca dish prepared with coconut. There are lot many variations to preparing Kappa Vachathu. I am sharing of one of my preparations.
In the picture below, you can see tapioca in its raw form, Cut form , skinned and diced form (in the bowl). Kindly note that the time taken to cook tapioca will vary according to the variety.
Kappa Vachathu (Tapioca with Coconut)
Tapioca- 1 kg
Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Green Chillies- 2
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Chilli powder- 2 teaspoons (you can adjust to suit your liking)
Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Oil- 2 tablespoons
Clean and dice the tapioca to 1″ pieces. Put the tapioca in a vessel. Pour enough water so that it just covers the tapioca. Add some salt. Cover and cook till the tapioca is almost cooked. Drain the water from tapioca and keep aside. Meanwhile coarsely grind the shallots along with chillies and garlic. Keep aside.
Return the drained tapioca into the heat in a pan along with the grated coconut and toss them. Avoid using ladle/spoon as it may mash the tapioca. Once it is blended, switch off the heat. Add more salt if required.
In another pan, heat some oil. Add the ground shallot-garlic-chilli mixture along with curry leaves and saute till the raw smell goes. Add chilli powder and turmeric powder and saute for a minute. Add the tapioca and 1 cup water and mix well. Switch off when it starts bubbling. This dish can be eaten just as it is. But having it with Meen Pattichathu/Vattichathu (Spicy Kerala Fish Curry) will take it to another level altogether…Enjoy!!!