Tapioca root is not that a common ingredient, when it comes to Indian cuisine on the whole. But in certain parts of the Indian subcontinent, this root vegetable is used extensively to make a variety of food dishes. One of those regions is South India. So, in this post, I have shared a simple, yet delicious as well as nutritious recipe of a Kerala style Kappa Puzhukku. This dish is also referred to as Kappa Vevichathu and is basically a seasoned, spiced and mashed tapioca root preparation. This recipe is also vegan friendly and gluten-free.
About Kappa Puzhukku
Like I mentioned in the beginning, kappa or tapioca roots are a common ingredient used in an array of dishes in South Indian cuisine.
From simple fries and sabzis to curries and more, just like this Kappa Puzhukku, tapioca roots make for lovely dishes down South. Tapioca root is also called as Yuca and Cassava in English. Kappa is the Malayalam word and Maravalli Kilangu is the Tamil name for the same.
The beauty of this Kappa Vevichathu is also that in addition to being really easy, as the preparation is just a mash which is tempered and seasoned, this recipe qualifies as both a main course dish as well as side dish.
Whichever way you want to serve it, the choice is completely yours. And it tastes just as fantastic, served any way.
Along with the kappa or tapioca roots, all you require to make this Kappa Puzhukku is water and salt first, to cook the kappa.
Then, the rest of the ingredients that go into making of this dish are coconut oil, mustard seeds, pearl onions, dried red chili, green chili, curry leaves, turmeric powder and fresh grated coconut.
Since all the above tempering ingredients as well as the use of coconut oil are typically South Indian, this recipe of Kappa Vevichathu becomes quite the authentic one.
To keep it this way and get the classic flavors across, make sure you are using coconut oil for the tempering.
For this Kappa Puzhukku, a specialty from the cuisine of Kerala, if you don’t have pearl onions, then you can use shallots or regular onions as well. Also, it is best to add a generous quantity of coconut at the end.
But in case, if you feel that using the fresh coconut as well as tempering the dish in coconut oil makes for too much of coconut for you, then you may just want to skip the addition of fresh grated coconut in the end.
There are a few variations of making a Kappa Vevichathu. In some versions, coconut paste is added. Here, in this post, I have shared my mother’s way of making it, which is easy and does not require ground coconut paste.
As I said earlier, some fresh grated coconut is added in the tempering, though that can be skipped too, if you do not have it or feel it’s too much for you.
As also mentioned, preparing the Kappa Puzhukku is quite easy. You just need to boil or steam the tapioca roots, mash them and then season with the tempered ingredients. Addition of coconut oil is a must, so do not skip it.
Kappa Vevichathu can be served as a side dish with a Kerala vegetarian main-course. You can even have this kappa dish as plain. Its filling and keeps one full for a good amount of time.
You can even serve this puzhukku with a thick onion chutney (or ulli chammanthi) and Red Coconut Chutney or red chilli chutney (chilli chammanthi).
How to make Kappa Puzhukku
Prep and Cook Tapioca Root
1. Rinse 1 large tapioca root/kappa (500 grams) in water first.
2. Then, peel and chop the cassava root. Rinse again in water.
You could opt to remove the thick string from the center while chopping them or remove the strings after the tapioca pieces are cooked.
3. Place the chopped tapioca pieces in a pan.
Note: The tapioca pieces can also be a cooked in a stovetop pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of water or more covering the tapioca pieces. Pressure cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 whistles.
4. Add ½ teaspoon salt or as required.
5. Add 2 cups water.
6. Cover the pan with the lid and cook the chopped tapioca roots on medium heat.
7. In between, do check.
8. Cook the tapioca until fork tender.
9. A fork or knife should easily pierce through the cooked kappa pieces.
10. Drain all the water from the cooked kappa.
11. Mash with a potato or vegetable masher to a smooth texture. Keep aside. Remove the hard strings if you see them while mashing.
Make Kappa Puzhukku
12. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a small pan or tadka pan.
13. Reduce the heat to low and add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds.
14. Let the mustard seeds crackle.
15. Then, add 1 dried red chilli (seeds removed), 1 chopped green chili and 7 to 8 curry leaves.
Fry for a few seconds or till the red chilies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.
16. Next, add 2 tablespoons of chopped pearl onions or shallots. You can even use regular onions.
17. Mix and begin to sauté pearl onions.
18. Sauté onions till they are softened and look translucent.
19. Then, add 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut.
20. Mix well.
21. Turn off the heat and add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
22. Mix again very well.
23. Pour the tempering in the mashed kappa.
24. Mix everything very well.
25. Lastly, drizzle 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
26. Mix again. Check the taste. If required, add more salt and mix again.
27. Serve Kappa Puzhukku as a side dish with a Kerala main course or with ulli chammanthi, Kerala coconut chutney or red chilli chammanthi. You can even have it plain.
- You can cook the tapioca root pieces in a pan/pot or pressure cooker or Instant Pot adding water as required.
- Make sure to cook the kappa pieces till fork tender. This helps you to mash the veggie well.
- In case you don’t have either of the pearl onions or shallots, then you can use regular onions in this dish.
- To keep the authenticity of Kerala flavors in this dish, use coconut oil to make the tempering for this dish.
- If you wish to have a spicier kappa mash, then you can increase the quantity of green chilies in the recipe.
- If you don’t have the fresh grated coconut, then skip adding it towards the end.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Kappa Puzhukku | Maravalli Kilangu Recipe (Mashed Tapioca Root)
For cooking kappa (tapioca root, yuca)
- 1 tapioca root large – 500 grams (yuca, cassava, kappa, maravalli kilangu)
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt or add as required
For tempering mashed tapioca
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil – edible and food-grade
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons pearl onions – chopped, or add shallots or onions instead
- 1 dry red chilli – stem and seeds removed
- 1 green chili – chopped or ½ to 1 teaspoon, chopped
- 7 to 8 curry leaves
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 to 2 tablespoons grated coconut
Cooking and Mashing Tapioca Root
- Take the tapioca. Rinse it in water first.
- Then peel and chop the kappa. Rinse again in water.
- While chopping, you can opt to remove the centre string or remove the strings later after the tapioca is cooked.
- Place the tapioca pieces in a pan. Add ½ teaspoon salt or as required.
- Add 2 cups water. Cover the pan with lid and cook tapioca on medium heat.
- In between do check. Cook chopped tapioca root till fork tender.
- A fork or knife should easily pierce through the cooked tapioca pieces.
- Drain all the water from the cooked tapioca.
- Mash with a potato or vegetable masher to a smooth texture. While mashing, remove any hard strings if you find them.
- Keep mashed tapioca aside.
Making Kappa Puzhukku
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a small pan or tadka pan.
- Lower the heat. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds. Let the mustard seeds crackle.
- Then add the red chilli, and chopped green chilli and 7 to 8 curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds till the red chilies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.
- Next add 2 tablespoons chopped pearl onions or shallots. You can even use regular onions.
- Mix and begin to sauté pearl onions. Sauté onions till they have softened.
- Then add the grated coconut and mix well.
- Turn off the heat and add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder. Mix again very well.
- Pour this tempering mixture in the mashed kappa. Mix everything very well again.
- Lastly drizzle 1 tablespoon coconut oil and mix again.
- Serve Kappa Puzhukku as a side dish with a Kerala main course food or with thick onion chutney or kerala coconut chutney or red chilli chutney. You can even have it as is.
- Instead of cooking tapioca in a pan or pot, you can opt to cook in a stovetop pressure cooker or in an Instant Pot adding water as required.
- For cooking tapioca in a 2 to 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker, add 2 cups water or as needed covering the chopped tapioca pieces. Pressure cook on medium heat for 2 to 3 whistles.
- Add onions instead of pearl onions or shallots.
- You can leave out the coconut if you do not have it.
- Do use edible coconut oil and do not swap it with any other oil.
- This recipe can be halved or doubled easily.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Kappa Puzhukku recipe from the archives first published in June 2018 has been updated and republished on February 2023.