Sobudhana Kitchuri – You did what with Tapioca?

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Sobudhana Kitchuri – You did what with Tapioca?

As a dietitian, I get asked about food related things all the time.  Usually at parties or social situations.  “Do you have a special diet to reduce gas?”  “What should I cook for my kids who are allergic to peanuts, dairy, gluten and corn?” My personal favorite, “I don’t like to exercise but do you have a diet for me to lose about 20 pounds?”  Contrary to popular belief, dietitians don’t go around making up “diets” or prescribing magic food pills.  It’s still a good idea to eat things in moderation and to exercise regularly but I guess that advice is just not sexy enough. (I feel a rant coming on….)

In the last several years people have been diagnosed with a lot more food allergies or intolerances.  Gluten (the protein found in wheat, rhy, spelt and bulgar and wheat by-products) allergies are becoming very common as well as various nut allergies and a hyper sensitivity to high fructose corn syrup.  A typical western diet is very high in gluten and processed sugars. There are two simple solutions to these dietary dilemmas:  Learn to eat and actually try a variety of foods and cook something! Whenever we buy pre-packaged foods, we deliver control of our life to someone else and it costs more, not only the food but long-term health related costs. I know sometimes it can’t be avoided but I’m not willing to trade convenience for the sake good taste or health!…..official END of rant here.

Most people who live in the U.S. have never thought of cooking tapioca (which is actually a starch from the Cassava plant) in savory dishes.  It is reserved mostly for puddings or the ubiquitous “frog eye salad” (not really a salad but a Jello concoction).  Tapioca can be eaten in a variety of savory dishes.  Here’s a Sobudhana kitchuri ( Sobudhana means Tapioca and Kitchuri basically means a “hodge podge” or “mixture”) made out of tapioca.  I made a kitchuri out of Quinoa not too long ago and this is very similar. It’s a tasty alternative to rice or pasta and it’s totally gluten free and vegan.  Besides the soaking of the tapioca (just do it overnight) everything comes together in 8 minutes.  I timed it!

Dry tapioca

”Gently

Most of the ingredients (minus the peas and the lemon--oops)

Toast the cashews in a hot dry skillet

Add oil to pan and stir fry cumin seeds, black mustard and dried red chilies

Add carrots and peas

Add garlic and apricots to the mixture and stir fry

Add tapioca to the mix then add the turmeric

Add in cashews, lemon juice and chopped cilantro and take off heat

It's slightly sweet and spicy with a delightful crunch

Here’s the recipe

Sobudhana Kitchuri

1 1/2 cups of tapioca

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup frozen baby peas

6 dried apricots, diced

2 tbsp chopped Cilantro (Coriander leaves)

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

2 dry red chilies

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 carrot, shredded

4 tbsp oil

Gently was the tapioca in COLD water (or you’ll have a hot mess) and put 1/2 cup of cold water in tapioca to soak 6-8 hours.  Do not skimp on the time, this helps the tapioca fluff up but also to dry out so it’s not a gelatinous mess when stir frying.

In a dry hot skillet stir fry the cashews until they are toasted.  Set aside.  In the same skillet add the oil and heat it up.  Add cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and the red chili peppers.  Stir fry until the mustard seeds and cumin seeds start crackling.  Add in the peas and shredded carrot and stir fry a few minutes.  Add in garlic and chopped apricots and stir to incorporate then add in the tapioca.  Stir fry until everything is blended in, then add the turmeric, lemon juice and chopped cilantro leaves.  Mix well and take off heat. Serve warm.

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