“Kappa” or the cassava tuber, when cooked with a pinch of salt and mustard seeds, does things to a Malayali that no other tuber can. Back home, a potluck usually meant friends/cousins coming home with a pot of cooked Kappa and mummy dishing up beef fry to go with it. So, when I picked up a cassava root from the Indian stall at the farmers’ market, I hoped I wouldn’t mess up that familiar comforting taste that could get a gang of Mallus licking their fingers.
Being married to an Oriya who’s always ready to try something new has given me plenty of scope for experimentation. But although he likes trying new food (at least I think he does!), the hubby has always been partial towards comfort food, of the dal-chawal variety. So, I decided to introduce him to the dal-chawal of God’s own Kendry, kappa and meen curry.
Kappa-Meen Curry (recipe sourced from my mom)
Meen Curry (Fish Curry):
400 gms fish (cod/kingfish/seer fish) cut into chunky pieces
1 large red onion, finely sliced
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup tamarind pulp soaked in water
1 cup light coconut milk
2 green chillies, finely sliced
1/2″ ginger, julienned
7-8 curry leaves
1tsp red chilly powder
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp grated coconut
Heat oil in a saucepan and add mustard seed still they sputter. Add green chillies, ginger and onion. Stir till onion turns translucent. Add the curry leaves and fry. Now add the turmeric, grated coconut and red chilly powder and fry for a minute.
Add fish and mix, so that the fish is evenly coated with the tempering and masala. Now add the tomato and tamarind pulp water and cook for a minute. Finally, add the coconut milk and add salt for seasoning and cover to cook for around 10 minutes.
Note: this dish is traditionally made with ‘Kudampuli’, a souring agent. In its absence, you can substitute it with tamarind or vinegar like I did.
1 large cassava (~500 gms)
1tsp mustard seeds
3-4 dried red chillies
Peel the cassava and chop into 2″ chunks. In a pressure cooker, heat oil and add mustard seeds and broken red chillies. Heat till mustard seeds sputter. Now add the cassava and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles, or till the cassava is cooked. It should be soft, yet should have a bite to it. (I made the mistake of overcooking the cassava, and it had a mashable-consistency, instead, try to boil it so it just holds it shape)