Kappa Biriyani

Kappa Biriyani brings together two favorites of Kerala cuisine : kappa which is cooked tapioca with coconut and erachi which is spicy meat curry with plenty of gravy. The meat used is usually beef (along with bones), but since beef is prohibited in some parts of the country, I have used chicken.

Kappa Biryani (also called Erachiyum Kappayum/Ellum Kappayum) is a popular dish in _thattukadas and kallu shaaps _in Kerala, and goes well with toddy. Though I love eating outside, I can’t bear the drive back home on a tummy full of this delicious comfort food. I would rather make it at home, eat to my heart’s content and then slip into the oblivion a lengthy nap would offer.

To make kappa biriyani, you need to first make the kappa or tapioca. When buying tapioca, choose roots that are dark brown in colour and firm to touch. Remove the skin of the tapioca using a sharp knife and cut into small pieces. Discard brownish pieces, if any.

Cook the tapioca in salted water. Once it is cooked through, drain away water.

Top cooked tapioca with freshly grated coconut, cumin seeds, curry leaves and green chilies. Sprinkle over turmeric powder. Cover with some cooked tapioca and warm for sometime. Then, mix together.

Next, you need to make the chicken curry. Saute onions, ginger, garlic and tomato along with spices and masala powders to make a thick paste. Add chicken pieces, cover and cook.

Top tapioca with chicken. Cover and cook for sometime. Fry shallots, curry leaves and red chilies in oil, and mix tempering with kappa and chicken.

  • Servings: 8-serving
  • Time: 60 mins
  • Difficulty: medium

Kappa Biriyani brings together two favorites of Kerala cuisine : kappa which is cooked tapioca with coconut and erachi which is spicy meat curry with plenty of gravy. The meat used is usually beef (along with bones), but since beef is prohibited in some parts of the country, I have used chicken.

Summary

  • Cuisine: kerala
  • Course: main course
  • Cooking Time: 60 mins

Ingredients

For Tapioca
1.5 kg Tapioca ,
Water ,  to boil
to taste Salt ,
Grated Coconut, 3/4th of a coconut
4 Finely chopped green chilies ,
pinch Cumin seeds , a
3 pods Finely chopped garlic ,
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder ,
1 sprig Curry leaves ,
For Chicken Curry
1/4 cup Coconut oil ,
1” Cinnamon piece ,
4 Cloves ,
3 pods Cardamom ,
1 1/2 teaspoons Pepper ,
2 sprigs Curry Leaves ,
10 pods Julienned garlic ,
1” Julienned ginger piece , 
1 1/2 cups Halved Shallots (kunjulli),
2 tablespoons Red chili powder ,
1 tablespoon Coriander powder ,
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder ,
1 Chopped tomato ,
1 kg Chicken Pieces (small pieces on the bone),
to taste Salt ,
3/4 cup Water ,
For Tempering
2 tablespoons Coconut oil ,
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds ,
3/4 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds ,
5 Dried red chilies ,
2 sprigs Curry leaves ,
6 Halved Shallots ,

Steps

  1. For Tapioca
  2. Cut the skin off of the tapioca with a sharp knife.Cut the tapioca into small bite sized pieces. Discard any browned pieces.
  3. Boil the tapioca in a large pot with enough water to cover it. Season. Once the tapioca is cooked (the pieces should be soft throughout), drain away water.
  4. Mix together coconut, green chilies, cumin seeds, garlic and turmeric powder.
  5. Make a well in the center of the cooked tapioca. Add the coconut mixture. Cover with some tapioca and cover the pot. Return to low heat so that the tapioca is steamed through.
  6. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  7. For Chicken Curry
  8. Heat coconut oil in a large pan or pot. While the oil heats up, crush cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and pepper coarsely. Add the spices along with curry leaves to hot oil and fry for a few seconds making sure that the spices don’t burn.
  9. Add shallots, ginger and garlic and saute till shallots have turned light brown.
  10. Over low heat, add red chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and saute till fragrant. Add tomato and continue sauteing till mixture leaves sides of the pan.
  11. Add chicken pieces, salt and water. Mix well. Cover and cook till chicken is cooked through. You should have about a cup of gravy.
  12. Pour the chicken curry over the tapioca in pot. Cover with a tight fitting lid. I use metal paper clips to ensure that the pot is sealed well, or else keep a heavy weight (such as mortar and pestle) over the lid. Keep the pot over a heavy pan and heat over lowest flame till the lid is warm to touch. Take off heat but don’t take off lid just yet.
  13. For tempering
  14. Heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. When they splutter, add dried red chilies and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds and add shallots. When the shallots are brown, remove from heat.
  15. Open the lid of the kappa biriyani pot, pour over tempering, and mix well. Adjust seasoning and enjoy hot!

Enjoy!

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