If you follow our blog, you know that we often feature popular Indian street food recipes and in this article, we’ll introduce you to our kappa recipe (or tapioca recipe for everyone who doesn’t speak Malayalam); a healthy delicious Indian version of tapioca you can make in your home for 30 minutes or less. But first things first…
What Is Kappa?
Kappa or kappa puzhukku is a staple food that originates from the Indian state Kerala. This authentic recipe consists of a starchy substance that’s harvested from the cassava plant. In most of the world, this ingredient is known as tapioca. The dish is prepared by mixing the tapioca with coconut paste, red chili peppers, Haldi powder, curry leaves, garlic, green chilies, salt, and cumin. This kappa recipe goes really well with a fish curry, beef curry, or Mulaku Chammanthi (a local spicy chutney).
Today, kappa is omnipresent in Kerala. You’ll find it in restaurants, fast food shops, street food stalls, households, and hotels. However, that wasn’t always the case. This brings us to…
Traditionally, kappa was a poor man’s dish. The reasons for this are obvious; tapioca is very nutritious and grows everywhere in Kerala and its price is relatively cheap. Hence, it’s easy to see how this part of India developed a tradition of preparing this tasty dish in every home. The Kappa recipe was passed from generation to generation and today, as traditional recipes are becoming more and more popular, it is gaining even more traction and barely anyone refers to it as a “poor man’s dish”. Even more, if you’re traveling to Kerala, your trip wouldn’t be complete without trying some kappa puzhukku.
The basic ingredient is the freshly harvested tapioca. Before starting, you need to cut the skin and clean the tapioca with hot water. Then, the tapioca needs to be half-cooked, taken out, and dried under the sun for a few days. These dried tapiocas are also known as Unakku Kappa. They can be stored in air-tight containers for up to a few days. Once dried, they become the key ingredient for this kappa puzhukku recipe (as you’ll see below). In my opinion, kappa puzhukku goes the best with fish curry but you can get creative and serve it with other gravies, like chicken curry.
The basic kappa dish is the one we mention in this recipe. This dish is a staple food in Kerala and some of the regions in the states that border with Kerala. However, this isn’t the only kappa or tapioca-based dish you’ll come across. There’s also Kappa Vevichathu which is almost the same thing just named differently in parts of Kerala, Yuca-Cassava (seasoned with a myriad of local spices and ground coconut), and Kappa pappadam, a papadum variety that’s usually served as a snack or as an accompaniment to a rice-based meal.
All these dishes might be different but they have one thing in common; to make them, you need to find some good, fresh tapioca and make sure they’re not spoiled. Before heading to the recipe, here’s how to do that.
How To Choose The Right Tapiocas
When buying kappa or tapiocas, one can never be too careful. On the outside, it isn’t very easy to say which tapiocas are spoiled or rotten. The waxy, shiny outside of tapiocas can be deceiving and if it’s spoiled, you won’t know it until you get home and cut it. Fortunately, after purchasing multiple spoiled tapiocas, I found a way to tell the spoiled from the good ones. When shopping, try to scratch the end of the tapioca and smell it. If the inner layer is white in color and doesn’t have a funny smell, that means the tapioca is good. If the inner layer is yellow-grayish and starts smelling bad after scratching, then that tapioca is very likely rotten.
- 2 Large Tapiocas
- 1 Cup Coconut Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
- 2 Green Chillies
- 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
- 4 Small Onions (chopped)
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Curry Leaves
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 Teaspoon Haldi Powder
1. Clean the kappa (tapioca) and cut it into small cubes.
2. Pour water, cover the kappa, and let it boil.
3. Once the water starts boiling, remove the water and drain.
4. Add the same amount of water again, along with some turmeric powder and salt, and cook until the kappa becomes very soft.
5. Heat up a pan and pour some coconut oil, cumin seeds, green chilies, and mustard seeds. Cook for 6-7 minutes at low heat.
6. Add the cooked kappa and the grated coconut and mix everything together.
7. Serve it with another curry or gravy and enjoy your meal!
Serving Size:250 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 478mgCarbohydrates: 56gNet Carbohydrates: 56gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g
A Few More Things You Could Use
How did you like our kappa recipe? Do you have your own favorite tapioca recipe? Feel free to share it with us in the comments. If you liked our tapioca recipe and find it helpful, don’t forget to leave us a rating.
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