Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Maravalli Kizhangu poriyal - Tapioca Root Stir Fry

What is your definition of happiness? I am not sure what makes me happy but striving for happiness has become a life goal for a lot of people these days apparently. For some people the idea of happiness iwhatever they want and for a few others it is being able to eat whatever they please.

Will you be surprised if this striving for all this happiness is actually making people unhappy? I read this opinion piece in 'The Washington Post'- The quest for happiness may be killing us. The attitude that being sad is a condition that needs to be treated rather than something to overcome and expecting that buying or having more things will make you happy is a futile exercise. This paragraph from the article is what stuck with me written by British therapist and philosopher James Davies who wrote “The Importance of Suffering,” and follow-up bestseller, “Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good".

Davies argues that we have created a culture that assumes happiness to be the normal, healthy human condition. Deviations from the blissful path - sadness, anxiety, disappointment - are thus treated as illnesses in search of a cure. This “harmful cultural belief that much of our everyday suffering is a damaging encumbrance best swiftly removed” gets in the way of a more robust response, he writes: namely, approaching unpleasant emotions as “potentially productive experiences to be engaged with and learnt from."

Last week brought some really sad new news - the deaths of Kate Spade - though I don't own any of her eponymous articles of fashion I still knew her and then Anthony Bourdain - him I knew and enjoyed immensely watching his show Parts Unknown. Several thoughts of success and happiness were sloshing around in my head and this article was timely I thought. All of us have this unattainable notion of happiness which clearly seems to be affecting and bothering us more than we want to admit.

Working with the animals, the land and doing things that I like - watching TV, reading a mystery novel, are some ways I choose to get out of the doldrums. What is your coping mechanism? Please get the help you want if you feel you are not able to cope.

As for this recipe,it is proof that food does not have to be elaborate to please the taste buds. Simple dishes with very few ingredients that bring out the natural taste of the vegetables are the best dishes to make and enjoy. On our last visit to India DH's sister in law had made this. I usually make this like a dry roast which is delicious in its own right but this one is just simple and perfect as a side dish for sambhar or rasam.

The recipe in pictures. Can't be any easier.

Peel and chop the tapioca. It takes longer to peel than to actually cook.
Boil the chopped tapioca root till it is soft.
In a wide mouthed pan, add the seasonings, green chilies and onions and saute till the onions are translucent. Add in the cooked tapioca root and salt. Saute for a few more minutes.
Add the grated fresh coconut and turn off the heat.

Maravalli Kizhangu poriyal - Tapioca Root Stir Fry
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  1. 2 Tapioca roots, peeled and cut into cubes
  2. 1/2 cup of finely chopped red onions or shallots
  3. 6-8 slit green chilies
  4. 1/4 cup of grated fresh or frozen coconut
  5. seasonings: curry leaves, cumin, mustard seeds, split urad dal
  6. 2 tsp oil
  7. salt to taste

  1. Peel the tapioca roots, chop into 1 inch cubes and in a pot of water cook till soft. Drain right away and set aside. Takes about 8-12 minutes.
  2. In a wide mouthed pan (kadai) add oil, when hot add the split urad dal and saute till it starts to turn color, add the mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard starts to pop add the curry leaves.
  3. Now add in the chopped onions and split green chilies and saute till the onion starts to brown.
  4. Now add the drained cooked root and mix it in. Add salt and saute for another 4-5 minutes and turn off the heat.

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