Kappa (Tapioca) Puzhungiyathu is Kerala's popular and traditional dish!! Boiled tapioca is available in star hotels ...down to the "thattukadas" to "kallu shaps"!! "Kappa and meen curry" is as common as "kappa and mulaku chadachathu" If you ask which is my favorite, I am always in a dilemma!! Kappa is my weakness!! I bet its yours too!!
I have had queries regarding how to peel kappa quickly and easily, so here in this post; I am sharing how I peel kappa! I hope the novice cook who drops in will benefit with this!! I love making varieties with tapioca aka kappa; like kappa bonda, kappa cultelts, kappa puttu, etc!! Oh!! yes!! I will definitely upload the recipes soon, I am posting this first since I thought; it is best to take you through the process of peeling kappa first, to let you know that it is so easy....
Unakka kappa though might not be very popular with youngsters; is an all time favorite of mine; "unnakka kappa" is dried tapioca; in olden days; before the onset of monsoon, kappa will be chopped up and sun dried and stored to have a bit of energy during the long monsoons!! I have seen dried kappa in supermarkets; though not very common!! but still for me unakka kappa brings in nostalgic memories of monsoon, meenachil river, and some very dear cousins!!
Author: Nisa Homey
Notes: If you are buying, try to buy the freshest possible. To see if it is fresh or not, just break a small piece and if it is all white, then no worries but if there are black stains on it...then the tapioca is old.
Fresh one will cook faster and will be buttery!! I usually use the pressure cooker to cook tapioca, you can also use a vessel too...but it might take a few extra minutes.
Tapioca/Kappa: 1/2 kg
Water: As needed.
Salt: As needed, about 1.5 tsp.
Lets peel the tapioca first.
As this is a root; fresh ones will have some mud/sand on it. So I usually, place it on a newspaper and cut into 2 inch or cut into small pieces, as it is more easy to peel than doing it whole.
Run a knife into the middle; with the help of the tip of the knife, peel the tapioca. Note that; if it is fresh one...it will come off smoothly.
Cut each one into fours or as you prefer....wash thoroughly (4 to 5 times) as there might be sand in it (in the small creases).
Put in a pressure cooker or a deep vessel or "kalam" and fill water. Add water and salt...it is best to cook them in a lot of water than little water...that is what my ammachi (grandma) used to say.
Close the cooker and after one whistle and a few seconds later. I usually put the cooker under the kitchen tap....and run water, so that the steam will release fast. (Now, if you are using a deep vessel then you will have to simmer the water once it is boiled until it s thoroughly cooked and then strain) once the steam is released....remove the weight, open the cooker and remove the rubber gasket and then close again and tilt into another steel pan to strain the water....again open after all the water is strained.
That's it boiled tapioca or kappa puzhungiyathu is ready.
I served with meen curry.