I wasn't quite sure about posting this while I was frying these chips. There is nothing much to be explained about this dish. Then I thought about the people who may not be familiar or comftorble with frying the chips and decided to post it here to teach all ! So the experts out there, please bear with me !
I 'm sure all the Malayalees or most of those from South India are quite familiar with Tapioca (aka kappa,maracheeni,kolli or cheenikkizhangu) chips. This is the second most favorite type of chips in my family,without any doubt the top most favorite is banana chips. All the bakeries in Kerala has packets of these chips for sale, and the interesting part is,they come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes a thinner version of shoe laces, sometimes round and circular like this,sometimes with little bit chili added,but they all taste scrumptious !!!.I can finish one whole packet in one go (I am not kidding,I really can!) Yes, I warn you that these chips are dangerously addictive. You will totally agree with me, if you have had them before.
I have told you in this earlier post that tapioca is a staple in most of the houses in Kerala. There are so many dishes you can prepare using tapioca. I have posted about kappa puzhukku and kappa biryani earlier. But I have never told you about how we use all the parts of tapioca quite efficiently,almost leaving no part behind. After the harvest,the stem will be saved for planting in next season,the leaves will be fed to the cows, after they loose the freshness.They do this to avoid the cattle getting sick from the milk that oozes out from the leaves.The tapioca is preserved after making small chunks and boiling them till completely cooked and drying out completely in sun.This is called unakku kappa (dried tapioca). This is used when the tapioca is not in season,but nowadays,raw tapioca is imported to Kerala from the neighboring states, so it's available year round-leaving this teqniuque almost deserted.Once I get some unakku kappa, I'll explain how to make some great dishes using that,for I have many recipies for it.
Where do you buy your tapioca in US ? I mostly get them from the Chinese/Asian grocery store.Sometimes they turn to be bad, but most of the time, very good because of one secret I will tell you- sometimes we pinch the skin to see whether the inside is black, from the fungus! Shhhh,it's a secret !! :-D
Tapioca, skinned - 2-3 large pieces
Oil- for deep frying
1.Peel out the skin from tapioca and wash well. Dry it using a kitchen tissue paper.This helps to hold it properly, without slipping, while you use a mandolin.
2.Using a mandolin cut the tapioca into thin slices.
3.Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high.Make a really strong solution of salt in couple of spoons of water and keep aside.Also keep a lid in handy.
4.Carefully ,put the tapioca pieces in the oil.Do not stir for the first 45 seconds to 1 minutes.This is to let the tapioca get cooked and not to break them while stirring.
5.After that start stirring the chips, till they start to turn light golden brown.
6.Sprinkle a few drops of salt solution into the oil using one hand ,while closing the pan with the lid using the other hand immediately. This helps you to prevent any oil splattering on the stove and surroundings.Be really careful with this step. If you think that it is really scary, you can sprinkle the salt solution right after you take the chips out from the oil.
7.Once the salt is completely dried,take out the chips from the oil using a sieved ladle.
8.Let the chips cool completely before you transfer it into an airtight container.
1.Traditionally these chips are made in coconut oil.
2.Be careful when you use the mandolin.Sometimes tapioca can be really big to handle like this. So my suggestion is to get medium sized tapioca when you want to make chips.