Tapioca is a root from the cassava plant that has become a staple in Indian cuisine. We can thank the Portuguese explorers who visited the coasts of India hundreds of years ago and introduced this plant along with many other wonderful discoveries to India.
Tapioca fulfills a role similar to that of potatoes as a starch. It brings little nutritional value to the table, unlike potatoes, but it does have carbs which provide energy.
Since tapioca doesn’t have much flavor in its own right, it is perfect to use in Indian recipes. When cooked with an array of savory spices, it becomes very tasty.
I created a very simple recipe called Tapioca Masala as a side dish with meat and other vegetables. The first step is to boil the tapioca with turmeric until it becomes tender. Turmeric is significant in Indian cuisine because it has wonderful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is worth the time to do some research online for its natural healing properties.
While the tapioca boils, I make a masala starting with frying onion and garlic with mustard seeds, dal chile powder, turmeric, curry leaves and coconut. (Since my husband is from south India, many recipes have curry leaves and coconut in them. Adding these items ensures he loves my cooking.) After the onion browns, I add the tapioca and mix it well so the masala coats each piece evenly. Adding some water helps to ensure it is well incorporated into each bite. As a last step, I stir in a little lemon juice to add a hint of tang. Since Indian cooking is all about layering spices and flavors, it is common, in some recipes, to add a little lemon juice at the end.
Since Tapioca Masala is a dry dish, meaning it doesn’t have a runny curry, I like to serve it with a chicken or beef curry. It can be served by itself for an easy lunch.