Sabudana is essentially a starch that is synthesized from the root of the cassava plant, scientifically termed Manihot esculenta. It is often processed into little round particles that look like pearls and is a popular ingredient in many South American and Asian recipes such as bubble tea, puddings, jams, jellies, and desserts.
How Are Sabudana Made?
The roots of cassava are finely ground, to extract the starchy liquid. Following this, the inherent water content is allowed to evaporate and the end-product is a fine white powder. Finally, this powder is made to undergo manufacturing processes, including sieving under high pressure, to produce bright white, translucent spheres that resemble pearls, therefore giving the name of tapioca pearls.
What Are Sabudana Used For?
In India, tapioca pearls are referred to as “Sabudana” in Hindi, “Sabu” in Bengali, “Javvarisi” in Tamil, “Saggubiyyam” in Telugu and “Chavvari” In Malayalam. They are commonly used in preparing staple desi recipes such as upma, khichdi, kheer, thalipeeth and vada, as well as crunchy snacks like papad and javvarisi vadaam.
Sabudana is traditionally added in Indian cooking, particularly in recipes prepared during festivals like Navratri, Diwali and Varalakshmi Vrat, as these dishes are consumed following a fast. These fluffy circular gems are a time-tested Ayurvedic remedy for cooling the body post fasting for several hours and also effectively regulate the stomach acids, thereby aiding in smooth digestion. Also, being an instant source of calories, sabudana pearls help in combating fatigue.
How Nutritious Are Sabudana?
Tapioca pearls or sabudana primarily contain starch, a simple carbohydrate that is easily digested and is also a direct source of energy. However, this is not the only nutritious benefit offered by sabudana, although it is comparatively less wholesome when compared with other fiber-rich grains such as wheat and oats. It is low in sodium content, practically has no cholesterol and comprises significant quantities of calcium, for strengthening bones. In addition, sabudana also provides iron for blood synthesis and transport, manganese for optimal metabolism and folate for ensuring proper DNA synthesis and cell division in all the bodily tissues.
Today, Sabudana is incorporated in a wide variety of dishes all over the world, as its beneficial use in low-sodium, cholesterol-free restricted diets is well-recognized. It is used immensely to prevent the risk of chronic diseases like muscular atrophy, boost metabolism and enhance overall well-being.
1. Helps In Weight Gain
Sabudana is a vegetarian food and a rich source of the purest and simplest forms of carbohydrates and starches. This aids in building essential fat tissues to protect internal organs, as well as ensures uniform lipid distribution across the body and is hence very useful for those who are underweight.
2. Ideal For Restricted Diets
Being naturally gluten-free, nut-free and grain-free, sabudana is a perfect ingredient that can be routinely added in the diet of people suffering from food allergies and gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein intrinsically present in some whole grains such as wheat, barley and rye which triggers a severe reaction in some people whose bodies are averse to this component.
3. Promotes Strong Muscle Growth
Sabudana abounds in essential amino acids and is a good source of vegetarian protein, both of which are crucial for many enzymatic reactions in cells and tissues in the body, to maintain proper functioning of all the organs. Moreover, it adds muscle mass and improves the tensile strength of connective tissues, thereby fostering muscular development.
4. Regulates Proper Digestive Function
As sabudana is an unprocessed food, the simple sugars and starches it contains will promptly be assimilated in the body and broken down in the stomach, to provide a source of energy. Furthermore, sabudana also helps in eliminating blockages in the gut passage upon digestion and hence prevents constipation and irritable bowel syndrome
5. Combats Neural Tube Defects
Sabudana can be taken by expecting mothers, as it has profuse amounts of folate, that plays a vital role in the normal development of the foetus, avoiding any chances of neural tube defects and other birth abnormalities in the newborn. Folate also enhances red blood cell synthesis, required for transporting nutrients to vital organs in the body.