Kappa Puzhukku or Kizhangu Bariyathu is a dish of boiled and mashed tapioca that is mixed with spicy flavour-packed coconut chutney and is finished off with a coconut oil tempering. Served for breakfast or lunch or dinner with fish, chicken or beef curry.
Since the time I moved to UAE, I have been attempting the food that we grew up eating because it is so easy to procure the ingredients here unlike in Yanbu. (Btw, I heard Yanbu is getting a LuLu soon.) But honestly, we don't call this Kappa Puzhukku - this is something I lifted off the web. For us, this is Kizhangu bariyathu or puzhungiyathu, if it is not mashed.
Kappa and Kerala
Tapioca is the staple food of the people of Kerala! You can take a Keralite out of Kerala but not tapioca out of a Keralite. I know it should be Kerala out of Keralite, but I wanted to emphasise tapioca! 😜 I say this because our childhood was spent amidst Tapioca plants. Daddy had managed to make a mini tapioca farm in our home garden in Coimbatore and there was no dearth of this starch bomb until for some reason we stopped replanting them. I have no memory of why we stopped planting but I am guessing the coconut trees were growing and needed more attention. All this is to say that Kappa is nostalgic comfort food that we love but I don't make often.😐
Our neighbours in Coimbatore are from south of Kerala and so as kids, we always loved their food and their kids loved my mom's food. There was always an exchange of food, recipes and discussion over our dialect and theirs. I am sure by now, my mom would have taught them the Moplah Malayalam!😂So the word "kappa" is used mainly in southern Kerala and I learnt it from our neighbours and it is also easier for me to pronounce than the zh of kizhangu! 😂
Traditionally, Kizhangu Bariyathu is served with sardine red curry on our side but you know F doesn't eat seafood so I serve this with beef curry. You can use my beef fry recipe but make it with a little gravy.
How to peel tapioca?
How I peel tapioca may be questionable for a purist like my dad who sent me videos to explain how it is done. But I personally never got it easy unless I dump the whole thing in water and then you can score and peel easily. So, if you also struggled like me, then try soaking in water just for a few minutes. And yes, you have to remove the pink skin too!
How to make?
Apart from peeling and chopping, there isn't any challenge in this recipe. Boil, make the coconut paste and mix and lastly add the tempering!
Add the tapioca pieces in a deep saucepot and fill it with water and salt to taste.
Bring this to boil and continue to cook until the tapioca pieces are tender but still hold the shape. Switch off and drain all the water and put back the boiled pieces into the pot.
Prepare the coconut mixture as per the recipe and add to the boiled tapioca along with the turmeric powder. Mash it thoroughly using back of the spoon or a potato masher.
Heat this on low flame while mashing and stirring the mixture. Adjust the salt for taste and cook until the mixture thickens. Switch off and keep covered while you prepare the tempering.
Pour the tempering over the prepared kappa puzhukku. Mix thoroughly and serve warm as is or with any spicy fish or beef curry.
Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku
To boil tapioca chunks
- 1 kg tapioca weighed as whole pieces
- water as required (to submerge the pieces)
- Salt to taste
For the spicy coconut paste
- 1 cup grated coconut you may add ½ cup more
- 3 mini shallots sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves diced finely
- 2 green chillies chopped finely
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds or fennel seeds
- curry leaves
- salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 to 3 dried red chillies
- curry leaves
- Peel the tapioca skin and discard any blackened portion.
- Chop them into bite-size and wash thoroughly in a colander under running water to remove all dirt.
- Add the tapioca to a deep saucepot and fill it with water and salt to taste.
- Bring this to boil and continue to cook until the tapioca pieces are tender but still hold the shape. You may cover and cook too.
- Switch off and drain all the water and put back the boiled pieces into the pot.
Grind the coconut mixture
- Add the grated coconut, shallots, garlic, green chillies, cumin or fennel seeds, curry leaves and salt into a chutney maker and grind to a coarse paste.
- Add this ground mixture to the boiled tapioca along with the turmeric powder and mash it thoroughly using the back of the spoon or a potato masher.
- Heat this on a low flame while mashing and stirring the mixture. Adjust the salt for taste and cook until the mixture thickens.
- Switch off and keep covered while you prepare the tempering.
- Heat coconut oil in a small tadka pan.
- Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.
- Reduce the flame and add the dried red chillies and curry leaves.
- Fry until crisped and pour the tempering over the prepared kappa puzhukku.
- Mix thoroughly and serve warm as is or with any spicy fish or beef curry.