Kerala’s love for Tapioca and its varieties

Author Deepu Paul narrates his love for Tapioca and its varieties

‘When in Rome be a Roman’ they say. similarly, when in Kerala you should taste tapioca. Being one from Kerala and having lived and travelled across India, I can confess no other set of people consume tapioca as much and as often as Keralites.

Potato is popular with most food lovers. Like the potato, tapioca goes well with veg and non-veg food. But unlike potato, tapioca is not just another starch-tube for Keralites, but a staple food. They can easily do away with rice or roti, at the sight of a plate of tapioca and fish curry. For some reasons, however, tapioca is not an appealing option to people in most other parts of our country though it has a South American background.

Origin and background

Tapioca is the roots of the cassava plant which is a native to Brazil.  With colonizers who ruled many parts of Asia, the plant found its roots in different states of India too. Although the intruders were pushed out, the cassava plant stayed.

History tells that Tapioca was introduced in Kerala in 1880-1885 by the then Maharaja of Travancore Vishakham Thirunal Rama Varma as a substitute for rice after a great famine hit the kingdom. People in Kerala only grew font of its different variants and flavors and they just continued to improvise on it.

Tapioca Leaf Image by Nikin from Pixabay

The fact that cassava plants can be easily cultivated and multiplied made it a good source of food for common people. Gradually, it gained wider admiration and acceptance among food lovers. With a variety of combinations, tapioca is really a treat to indulge in.

As children when we return home from school, boiled tapioca with chutney or dry cooked tapioca with spices used to be a usual sight. It is amazing to learn about Tapioca and its varieties in plenty. Fast-food culture has taken over and today’s generation hardly enjoys such homemade, simple delicacies. But there are several items and combinations tapioca can offer which are easy to cook, tasty and pocket friendly.

Boiled tapioca with different side dishes

Well peeled and boiled tapioca can be enjoyed with simple chutney made of Thai Chili, shallot, garlic, salt, and coconut oil. Boiled tapioca with fish curry is the more popularized combination of all for its unmatched taste. Tourists who have travelled by houseboats in the Alleppey regions must have had a taste of it. Many enjoy it with different meat items as well.

Tapioca Dry pudding

Small cube sized tapioca is boiled and thereafter sautéed in oil with mustard, onion, green chili, curry leaves, etc. till blended well and dry. It is more like a side dish with rice or in some pockets of Kerala, it is enjoyed with evening tea/coffee. Mashed tapioca also is prepared almost in a similar manner.

Tapioca Pudding Image by Iva Balk from Pixabay

Tapioca chips

If properly marketed, perhaps tapioca chips but for the carbs can give a good competition to potato chips. There already are packets of tapioca chips available all over Kerala. Commonly available varieties include plain, round chips, spicy ones, and matchstick type chips. Beware, you can indulge in it way more than you actually want to have.

Other products include starch, flour, glucose syrup, bread, etc. If dried well tapioca can be preserved for a long time and can be used to cook later.

I would say it won’t be a bad idea if parents take special note of the above options. Kids who splurge on fast food and are prone to eat out often can be provided viable homemade options in tapioca and its varieties.

Image by JULIANA ANNUNCIATO from Pixabay

Health and nutrition

Although tapioca is a staple food and regularly consumed by people, it provides only carbohydrates and is low in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Image by Iva Balk from Pixabay

Since it is a tropical plant, it is widely available in almost all over Kerala and can easily be cultivated in other parts of the country. Already it is popular in south Indian states and in Northeast. You don’t have to be a skilled farmer to cultivate cassava plants. A major advantage of the crop is that it can withstand drought-prone conditions and hardly requires much attention. The duration of the crop is about seven to eight months and a single plant can yield up to 4-6 kgs of root depending on the soil.

If you are not used to having tapioca, then perhaps it is not recommended to eat it to your fill the first time you have it. At the same time, if you are visiting Kerala during monsoon, you wouldn’t want to miss the blend of rains and taste of tapioca with fish curry.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about tapioca and its varieties. Do please leave your comment.

Featured post by Image by Iva Balk from Pixabay

You can also visit the article related to Tea to know about the most common beverage in the world

Author

Deepu

A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers

38 thoughts on “Kerala’s love for Tapioca and its varieties

  • March 7, 2020 at 1:57 am
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    I LOVE tapioca. I’ve only ever had tapioca pudding, but the texture is great. I’d be interested in trying it in other ways.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 5:17 pm
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      please go ahead. there are many combinations

      Reply
  • March 7, 2020 at 5:07 am
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    Now I am curious cuz I haven’t heard about this dish before it sounds like it’s very delicious

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    • March 10, 2020 at 5:20 pm
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      you are missing out on something very delicious!

      Reply
  • March 7, 2020 at 10:34 am
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    We love the American version of tapioca, but I would love to try it the way you described. Yum.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm
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      please do try and you will want to have more of it.

      Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm
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      simple, easy to cook n serve and tasty. please do try.

      Reply
  • March 7, 2020 at 12:22 pm
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    This looks so good!
    And may I say, I know its off-topic so I am sorry for that, but I really like your images 🙂

    Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 5:23 pm
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      it s equally tasty too

      Reply
  • March 7, 2020 at 6:23 pm
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    I love tapioca and I always put it into desserts that I make for my family 🙂

    Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 5:24 pm
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      you could try other combinations too.

      Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 5:25 pm
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      certainly give it a try.

      Reply
  • March 8, 2020 at 2:58 am
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    I just bought these. Mine were done after 3 minutes covered, high heat. After the tapioca pearls cooked I immediately drained them and let them soak in cold water. It is that simple. Thank you for all these tapioca recipes!

    Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 5:27 pm
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      ahhh. you are an expert.

      Reply
  • March 8, 2020 at 1:34 pm
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    There are some really good idea’s here. I like the sound of the pudding though xx

    Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:07 pm
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      maybe you need to try all of them

      Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm
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      yes you should!

      Reply
  • March 8, 2020 at 9:31 pm
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    Deepu Paul narration shows his love for Tapioca and its immense benefits.

    Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:09 pm
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      sure thing. thank you

      Reply
  • March 9, 2020 at 1:47 am
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    Only ever had tapioca pudding and didn’t even realise where it came from, learn something new every day

    Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm
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      thats right. maybe taste something new everyday

      Reply
  • March 9, 2020 at 6:58 pm
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    Hhhhmmmm….I love the sound of tapioca chips! I have heard the name before but never had a meal of them. I’d love to.

    Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm
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      you would love it. please do try

      Reply
  • March 9, 2020 at 10:56 pm
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    I am not a fan of tapioca pudding so I like that there are some other ideas here for tapioca products. I think it’s the extrude of it. Tapioca chips would definitely be my thing I think.

    Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:11 pm
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      please start with chips

      Reply
  • March 10, 2020 at 9:24 am
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    I used to eat Tapioca as a kid. I havent had a good batch in a long time.

    Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:11 pm
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      maybe it is high time you tried it again.

      Reply
  • March 10, 2020 at 11:52 pm
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    Very interesting ingredient. I never tried tapioca but I have heard so many good things about it. Will definitely look to buy it and make that pudding.

    Reply
    • March 16, 2020 at 2:12 pm
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      please do try. you will enjoy, even chips

      Reply
  • March 14, 2020 at 8:42 am
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    I really like tapioca and the texture of tapioca Pearl’s.

    Reply
  • March 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm
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    totally. thank you

    Reply
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