About This Recipe
The cassava plant, native to Brazil, found its way across the world to Africa and Asia with Portuguese explorers. Tapioca starch extracted from the fibrous cassava root is used globally as a thickener for sauces and desserts, or to make sago pearls (spheres of starch often used in puddings and in “bubble” tea). In the South Indian state of Kerala, the cassava root, or kappa, its local name, is boiled with turmeric and salt, and the soft, mellow tuber is served alongside spicy curries. In this recipe, cassava is cooked with coconut milk to make a lush, nourishing curry.
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 14 oz (400 g) cassava (peeled, washed, and cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups (720 ml) water
- 2 cups (480 ml) coconut milk
- 8 whole, fresh curry leaves
Step 1Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of the coconut oil. Add the chopped onions to the pan, and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Step 2Pound the garlic and ginger using a mortar and pestle and add this coarse paste to the onions. Let this cook for a minute. Add the chopped cassava cubes, turmeric, 1 tsp salt or to taste, and pepper. Stir well. Add water and cover the pan with a lid, and let it simmer. After 15 minutes, uncover the pan and check to see if the cassava cubes have softened. If the cubes aren’t soft, continue cooking for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 3Reduce the heat, add the coconut milk and mix well. Let the sauce thicken slightly for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Step 4In a separate pan, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp coconut oil on medium-low heat. Add the curry leaves and let them heat up for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and pour this over the prepared curry. Serve hot with steamed rice.