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K appa is a comfort food originating in Kerala. It uses boiled tapioca (sabudana), cooked in a paste of coconut and various spices, which is then tempered with sauteed onions, red chillies, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. To make the dish, one needs tapioca, water, and salt. For the spices, grind together coconut, cumin seeds, garlic, green chilli, turmeric powder, salt, and water. And for the tempering, bring together coconut oil, mustard seeds, onions, chillies, and curry leaves. It pairs well with a meat dish or a rich fish curry.
Kappa also has a vibrant history. Around 1880 CE, it was introduced as an alternative to rice by the King of Travancore Vishakam Thirunal Rama Varma, after his kingdom faced a famine. Since then, it’s become a staple of the region’s cuisine and is often called upon as a substitute to rice. This was especially true during World War II when there was a food shortage and many refugees survived on Kappa at the time.
Tapioca also has several health benefits. It’s rich in vitamins and fibres that aid digestion, and prevent issues like constipation, bloating and other more. It’s also a rich source of protein, especially essential for vegetarians. Tapioca is also rich in Vitamin K, calcium, and iron, all of which contribute to the protection and development of bones, preventing fractures and other problems. Consuming tapioca also helps regulate blood pressure and boost energy levels.
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