Whenever we have this served back home in Kerala, I happily forego the rice to gorge on tapioca/ cassava root. Literally inhaled. In Kerala, we call it kappa :)
Usually in Kerala, it's skinned, boiled with salt and turmeric (because who doesn't love its yellow colour - the anti-inflammatory properties are an added bonus :P), drained and, finally, spices added to it, with a good bit of grated coconut (it is the land of coconuts after all!)
So, when we finally got our hands on a beautiful cassava root we made post-haste and made a quick and easy dish with it!
The consistency is what I like the most about kappa. It's like a savoury love-child of yam and jackfruit curry. It's soft and slightly fluffy like jackfruit with a soft bite similar to yam and a light sweetness all its own. Also, incredibly filling.
If you end up serving yourself the same volume of kappa as you would rice, you literally won't have space for much else, and you'll need to slowly roll yourself away from the dinner table. It's delicious, so it's ridiculously easy to get carried away (hopefully not on a crane if you know what I mean :P), so here's my attempt at trying to warn you! Because yes, I've been there and done that...
Cooking Kappa/ Tapioca
With that in mind, a lot of the time, kappa is sometimes simply cooked by skinning, chopping into rough wedges, then boiled. It's just that simple.
"But where are the spices?!", you exclaim, "the aromatics?!"
That's where the side dish assists us. The boiled kappa is then served with either a spicy fish curry or a mutton curry. You just sop up the gravy with the kappa and enjoy the complimentary textures and flavours.
If the only time you get this delicious pairing is when you visit Kerala in the summer, this mini feast usually ends with you waddling away from the table satisfied and ready for a food coma. I wonder what could possibly have given me the insight to warn you against kappa's deliciousness hmmmm... #TheCarbLife :D
However, if your stomach isn't ready to be set on fire just yet with either the spicy fish or mutton curry, you make a more subdued dish with the kappa and enjoy it with some seasonal veggies. We just wanted something warm and satisfying so we went with a coconut infused tapioca. A different kind of nommy :)
Ayurveda Dosha Suitability
Kapha and Pitta (if you're just boiling the tapioca with salt and no additional spices)
Note: Always peel the tapioca/ kappa as the skin contains an acid that impedes effective digestion. Then, boiling will neutralise the acid further.
Peel the tapioca and cut into bite size pieces. Place pieces into a large pot and add water till completely submerged. Add salt and turmeric powder. Cover the pot, on medium flame, cook the tapioca till the water boils, then reduce to medium and cook till the tapioca is soft (check using a fork, the centre should be soft too). Once the tapioca is cooked, strain.
In a grinder grind the cumin seeds. Next, add garlic, onions and chilli. Grind to a paste.
In a large wok, heat oil and splutter mustard seeds. Add dry red chilli and saute till chilli changes colour. Next add the ground paste and saute lightly. Add the strained tapioca and add another 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder. Mix well.
Add coconut cream, 1/4 cup water and salt as required. Mix till well incorporated and once any extra water has completely evaporated. The tapioca dish should be dry.