Kappa/tapioca/ cassava ( known as the poor man’s food) was promoted in Kerala, India by the erstwhile Travancore rulers during World War II when the state faced acute shortage of rice, which was then the staple food of the people. A large number of people, especially the labour class, accepted the starch-rich kappa as a substitute to the costly rice.
Thus kappa came to be known as the staple food of the poor in the state those days. Hotels refused to include kappa in their menu due to its working class image. The promotion was left to the toddy shops, where the proletariat turned up for relaxation after a day’s hard work.
Kappa puzhukku (mashed tapioca) along with fish curry/ beef curry is still the hot dish in the toddy shops throughout the state. But now a days it comes in many forms in the hotels with chefs experimenting variety of cuisines from the local product.
Kappa Puzhukku | Mashed Tapioca – Cassava – Yuca Recipe instructions to cook.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Shallots (small onions)– 5
Green chillies – 5
Garlic cloves – 5
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil – 3 tablespoons
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Water – to cover the tapioca
Grated coconut – 2 cups
1) Peel the thick brown and thin pink skin from the root and cut it into small bite sized pieces. Wash it well.
2) Boil the tapioca pieces along with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder and cook for 10 minutes. Drain the water and keep it aside.
3) Grind together grated coconut, green chillies, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, garlic and shallots coarsely. Mash the cooked tapioca and add the ground mix and cook for some time.
4) Heat coconut oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds and fry curry leaves. Add this to the tapioca mixture.
5) The kappa puzhukku is ready. Serve hot with fish curry or beef curry.