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Ellum Kappa/ Kappa Biriyani- Tapioca and Beef

Ellum Kappa/ Kappa Biriyani- Tapioca and Beef

Ellum Kappa/ Kappayum erachiyum is a delectable combo of tapioca/yuca and spicy curried beef. This dish brings out the authentic taste of Kerala. The meat is cooked in aromatic and earthy spices, freshly ground coconut paste, toasted coconut, and fried onions mixed with boiled tapioca and combined with the flavor of coconut oil, it represents flavors of Kerala at its best. Kappa Biriyani is a wholesome meal, cooked separately and combined to make a hearty and filling comfort food. You might ask, where is the best place to get the tastiest kappa biryani? Check local thattukadas, street food stalls, and toddy shops. But you can also make it at home, and the recipe is quite simple.

To people of Kerala tapioca/ cassava is next to rice as a major source of carbohydrate in their meal, and there are pride and obsession with this starchy root vegetable and the various recipes made with it. But yuca/cassava is not native to Kerala. It came from South America and was introduced to South India by the Portuguese. King Vishakham Thirunal Rama Varma, introduced this starchy tuber in Travancore during the time of famine in the late 1800s. The king issued instructions on how to cook tapioca to instill confidence in his people that it was safe to be eaten. Lead by the King example, ordinary people started growing and cooking tapioca/cassava at home. It again came to people’s rescue during World War 11 when there was a rice shortage. Ever since tapioca/ cassava became a staple in Kerala cooking. I still remember my grandmother’s kitchen. There were always two big pots cooked simultaneously, one for rice and one for tapioca.

Ellum Kappa is served in Christian families of central Kerala to guests on the wedding eve. In my home in southern Kerala fish, curry and cassava are the staples.It was my husband who described the tattukada experiences of Kottayam and the name kappa biryani popped up in one of our conversations. It got me intrigued to try tapioca and beef combo. You can use meat with bone, as the name suggests- ellum kappa or without bones. You can garnish according to your taste preference -roasted thinly sliced coconut, fried onions, and curry leaves or roasted grated coconut powder can be used for garnish.


Ellum Kappa/ Kappa Biriyani- Tapioca and Beef Recipe 


Beef – 1 Kg

Shallots- 1 cup
Crushed ginger and garlic- 2 tbs

Green chilly – 3-4
Chilly powder-2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Pepper powder-1/2 tsp
Tomato- 2
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Meat Masala- 1 tsp

Coconut oil
Salt to taste

To make Tapioca

Tapioca-  1 kg
Shredded coconut- 3/4 cup (optional)
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Cumin- 1/2 tsp
Garlic-2 pods
shallot- 1
Green Chilly- 4-5
Curry leaves- 2 springs
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

Sliced shallots- 2-3
Coconut oil- 2 tsp 

See Also

  Marinate beef with crushed ginger, garlic, pepper powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Set this aside for half an hour.
 Heat oil in a pan and saute onions till golden brown. Sir fry chopped tomatoes till it is soft. Add the marinated meat and fry the meat till it changes color to brown. Add chilly powder, coriander powder, and rest of the spice powder and mix well. Add one cup of water, cover and cook in medium flame (or pressure cook) till the meat gets cooked and gravy reduces and coats the meat. Set this aside.

 In the meantime, you can cook the tapioca. Remove the skin and chop into small pieces. Put into a large vessel and pour water to the same level as tapioca. Bring this to a boil and then strain out the water. Again put back the tapioca pieces in the stove with a fresh batch of water. Add enough salt and cook till it is soft and can be easily mashed. (if there is excess liquid drain it out). You can just add turmeric, crushed chilly, and curry leaves if you prefer or make a paste fine paste of coconut, cumin, turmeric. Crush chilly, garlic, and curry leaves and mix to the paste. Blend this well with the cooked tapioca and cook for two to three minutes till the raw flavor disappears. Add the cooked meat and mix it with the tapioca. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and saute sliced shallots till golden brown. Garnish on top and serve.

Like to try more recipes with Cassava/tapioca, also check this recipe

Mashed Tapioca/Kappa Vevichathu/Puzhukku and fish curry

You might also like,

Kerala Beef Fry
Kerala Beef Vindaloo
Koorka Irachi Curry/Chinese Potato and Beef Curry

Try this,
Hope you will all enjoy!

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