Cassava or Tapioca is also known by other names like Yuca in South America, Mogo in East Africa and Kappa in Kerala. There are many dishes prepared with starchy Cassava in many Latin American and other tropical countries. Kappa masala is a typical Kerala dish loved in our house for the nostalgic memories it kindles. It makes me long for the warmth of our home land and its unique dishes. This being my favourite dish, I learned to make it very early, from my grandmother. I also like to eat Cassava cooked as large chunks with a side of onion chutney or sliced and fried as chips.
It is served in many restaurants, big and small, where Kerala food is served. But the best Kappa and fish curry is a specialty of toddy shops. Toddy, called ‘Kallu’, is the fermented, intoxicating drink from the sap of coconut trees. Whoever has tasted it will swear there is nothing like Kallu, kappa and hot meen curry. If you eat this in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala, it is a whole new experience!
The sight of this dish makes every Malayali drool and I am sure introducing this to all others will produce a similar effect. So here, I dedicate it to everyone who is ready to try an authentic dish from Kerala.
In this recipe, Cassava is cut into smaller pieces and cooked with some simple spices and coconut to make it delicious.
- 1 big cassava
- 5-6 shallots
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 2 green chillies
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- few curry leaves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 dried red chillies
- Peel off the skin of Cassava and wash it clean.
- Cut into small pieces and remove the hard root in the center.
- Immerse the pieces in water in a pot and cook on medium flame.
- When it boils, add turmeric and salt.
- Cook it well until it is soft and crumbles when pressed with a spoon.
- Drain the water and gently mash the tapioca.
- Crush shallots, green chillies, coconut and garlic in a blender coarsely.
- Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan.
- Splutter mustard seeds and stir in curry leaves and dried red chillies.
- Lower the heat and add the crushed masala and mix well. It may splash, so be careful.
- Transfer the mashed tapioca to the frying pan.
- Mix everything together until it is one happy mixture.
- When it is heated thoroughly, turn off the stove.
- Serve it hot.
This is a very simple dish but tasty and filling. It is usually eaten with a side dish of fish curry. The vegetarian version is a chutney made with hot chili pepper, roasted on fire and fresh onion, both crushed with a dash of coconut oil and salt. I like to eat this on its own as it has all the ingredients to have a balanced taste and flavour.
There are endless ways to use this Kappa masala. Other than serving it as a main dish with fish curry it can be an evening snack with tea. It is versatile as a stuffing in masala dosa or bonda and even paratha. It can be transformed into cutlets and patties. So this is a basic recipe with a lot of possibilities!
Fish curry in my next post as I am trying to figure out what vegetable could substitute it in a vegetarian version! Vegetarian curry and Mathi Mulakittatu posted here.