Tasty Tapioca Tikkis (Nuggets)

Tapioca pearls are widely used in Indian cuisine. Most of us think tapioca is just a thickening agent but do you know you can make tasty snacks with it?. Let me show you how I turned these tiny white pearls into these crispy golden nuggets…

I call tapioca pearls “The Vegan Caviar” because these tiny white pearls become translucent when it’s cooked. It literally looks like caviar (fish eggs). Nowadays, Tapioca is used in many gluten free goodies like jellos, puddings, cupcakes and more. It is also a great vegan substitute for gelatin. We Indians make both sweet and savory dishes with it. Since tapioca literally has no flavor we need to add color and flavor to spice it up. The starchy nature of  tapioca is highly conducive for making crispy snacks like cutlets and nuggets.

Sabudana Tikkis – Tapioca Nuggets

Yields 25 mini nuggets 


  • Tapioca pearls – 1 cup
  • Potatoes – 2 medium size
  • Roasted peanuts or almonds – 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Green chili – 2 finely chopped (optional)
  • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
  • Garlic pods – 2
  • Cumin seeds or fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tablespoon (chopped)
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon

Prep work

  • Soak the tapioca pearls 3 to 4 hours or overnight for best results.
  • They plump up and gets soft. you should be able to mash them with your fingers.
  • Drain well and keep it aside

  • Grind green chili, ginger and garlic into a paste or you can finely mince or grate them.
  • Coarsely chop the peanuts. Chopping it helps blend with the mix nicely and it doesn’t fall apart when you fry them *You can also use almonds, Cashews or walnuts.

  • Cook the potatoes and mash them and keep it ready.

  • Take a big bowl and add all the ingredients, salt and mix them with your hands.
  • Coat your palms with some oil and make them into bite size nuggets or cutlets and keep it aside.
  • The best part is you don’t have to coat them in breadcrumbs.
  • When it’s fried the tapioca pearls crisp up and makes a hard shell which is so crunchy

  • Heat oil in a deep pan.
  • Drop them slowly in the oil using the slated spoon, this way you can avoid the splatter.
  • Fry the nuggets in a medium flame until its golden brown.
  • Drain them well on a paper towel.
  • Make sure it cools before you take a bite because the inside will be really hot.

Look at it…it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s just so yummy! I bet you can’t just stop with one!

Nutrition Facts

The following spices and herbs are very rich in antioxidants and have anti inflammatory qualities.

  1. The turmeric we added contributed this golden color
  2. The red and green chilies gave this a spicy kick
  3. The garlic, ginger and coriander made this so flavorful
  4. The cumin/ fennel seeds help easy digestion
  5. The peanuts enriched these starchy nuggets with the much needed protein.

Even though it’s fried, look how well balanced this Indian snack is. It’s unbelievably scrumptious and healthy as well.

You can simply enjoy these nuggets with ketchup or your favorite sauces. I wanted to make this a little gourmet. So I used the store bought coriander and tamarind chutney, since they are thick and concentrated, I added a tablespoon of warm water and blended it to bring it to a dippable consistency. Instead of a usual dipping bowl I used the soup spoon. Doesn’t this look so fancy?

This coriander dip is tangy and spicy

On the other hand the tamarind dip is sweet and sour, what a perfect YIN and YANG of flavors! YUM!!

There is a misconception that vegetarian / vegan food is boring and tasteless. We vegetarians eat a well balanced diet and our Indian cuisine is known for that. When you take a bite of this nugget you will agree with me that plant based food can be phenomenal too!




Published by Latha @ savvysouthindian.com

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