This is perhaps the most traditional, totally yummy but fast disappearing Kerala delicacy. It’s a long process and hence the reluctance of everyone to make it and use the modern tapioca chips instead.
I got the difficult part, the days long drying process done by my brother who lives in the house in Thidanad where I grew up.
Fresh tapioca, yes taken out from the earth on the same day, is cleaned off mud, washed, skin peeled off, washed several times and the pure white cylindrical roots are taken for making the raw material.
The cleaned tapioca is cut into small rectangular shape (chip size). This is a difficult process. Olden days, people had the skills of getting it done with the tapioca on one hand and the knife on the other.
Sometimes the tapioca is slightly boiled before peeling the skin for making it easy for cutting into shape also.
The raw chips are then sun dried. The best way of drying is to spread them on rocks (granite formations) in the sun and collecting them back when the sun goes down, repeating the process for quite a few days.
This raw material for the chips would last a year making my second part easier after getting it from my brother.
Heat coconut oil in a hard bottom vessel. Soak the chips in water for sometime and drain off the water. Put the chips into oil at high temperature, and fry till brown, stirring all the while.
It’s optional to add some salt and pepper while boiling or afterwards. Earlier days salt was added after frying, the reuse of oil would have been the reason. Now we don’t reuse oil. Salt, pepper, chilli powder or cardamom powder to the fried chips is personal choice.
This is 100 times better than the modern machine sliced instant tapioca chips.