Remember the food your mom used to toss up whenever spartan fasts came about? The chilli- and peanut-laced sabudana khichdi, and the crunchy tapioca papadams mingled with fried peanuts formed a yummy tea-time snack. All of us have a tapioca tale garnishing our childhood memories, and the new-age food climes are now winging in spin-offs of the rather non-glamorous, snowy starch in multiple ways.
Pearls Of Wisdom
Used in various forms—flour, meal, flakes and pearls—it is dubbed as fatty and filling. So one needs to eat it in moderation, unless you wish to pack in the kilos.
“Chefs use it as an alternative to corn flour for thickening soups, stews and sauces,” says dietitian Sarika Nair of SlimnHappy, Mumbai. “Tapioca comes strapped with carbohydrates, making it a perfect pick for those observing a fast as the high carb content keeps you feeling full for a longer time,” she explains. Sabudana is high in calcium and manganese content, but is gluten-free, and low on sodium. Tapioca pearls are also a common ingredient used in making puddings and teas. You can make lighter versions by using soy, almond, cashew, and fat-free milk as a substitute for
“The best way to consume tapioca is to boil it,” says Gaurav Anand, Executive Chef, Courtyard by Marriott Hebbal, in Bengaluru. “The biggest challenge of working with tapioca is to maintain the right temperature. A high source of carbohydrate, it overcooks and thickens, coagulating the dish,” he cautions. Anand has come up with a noveau rendition in Tapioca Dauphinoise.
“This preparation is a complete meal but one can also accompany it with a chicken or lamb dish. It enhances the flavour of the meat,” he says. The Taiwanese bubble tea is a rage on the slurp circuit with a variety of flavoured teas replete with tapioca balls that slither up a fat straw into your mouth.
Adnan Sarkar of Dr Bubbles (authentic Taiwanese bubble Tea) says, “With a base of green tea/black tea (both rich in antioxidants), natural fruit flavourings are infused to create a tasty, preferred alternative to milkshakes and the usual iced teas.”
While you can load up on tapioca pancakes, prepare Oriental delicacies using the starch because too much intake can cause trouble.
“Being a simple carbohydrate loaded with empty calories, and negligible nutrients, it causes rapid weight gain. It can also disturb the sugar level in your body,” says Chennai-based dietitian Deepalekha Banerjee. “Improper preparation of the cassava root, from which tapioca comes, can cause significant health symptoms when ingested. For example, inadequate cooking, soaking, or fermenting of the cassava root or the cassava peel may lead to cyanide poisoning, neurological effects, and goitre.” So whatever you pick, trot on.
Haldi Chilli Tapioca
❖ Tapioca: 100 gm
❖ Sabudana: 60 gm
❖ Cheese: 50 gm
❖ Cumin seeds: 10 gm
❖ Turmaric powder: 10 gm
❖ Chilli powder: 10 gm
❖ Salt: 10 gm
❖ Black pepper: 10 gm
❖ Oil: 25 ml
❖ Pineapple: 60 gm
❖ Black olive: One
❖ Basil leaves
❖ Soak tapioca for 12 hours at room temperature water
❖ Cut it into thin chip-like slices and blanch in salt and turmeric water
❖ Add oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds
❖ Add tapioca seasoned with salt and pepper
❖ Cook tapioca like khichdi in a separate pan
❖ Take a round mould and arrange the tapioca khichdi, and cheese
❖ Bake for 10 minutes at 175°C
❖ Arrange in a plate and serve hot
Recipe by Gaurav Anand