Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kappa Puzhukku(Mashed Tapioca/Yucca) & Mathi(Sardine) Curry

'Kappa Puzhukku' which is mashed Tapioca (Yucca) with fish curry used to be the weekend lunch special at home. Tapioca can be prepared in a variety of ways but with fish curry mashed tapioca is a superb combination and is a Kerala speciality dish. On a normal day lunch at home used to be rice, a curry to pour over rice, fish curry and a vegetarian side dish. In my state as we get fresh fish of various kinds all the year round, most of the people in my state cannot have lunch without fish curry. At home fish curry is prepared in a meen chatti(earthenware pot) and this imparts a distinct flavour to the dish. After years of having freshly made fish curry at home I overlooked this fact until I made fish curry in US. I couldn't bring an earthenware pot from home and couldn't find one in anyof the Indian shops here. The curry made in a non stick pan or any other vessel doesn't have that unique taste. Hence I plan to bring one when I make a visit to my homeland. Hope it remains intact until it reaches here!

Sardine is one my favourite fishes. This fish has a high nutritional value as it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which is heart healthy. It is also a good source of vitamins and proteins.In my state fish curry is made using fresh sardines and canned ones arent popular.The fish curry mentioned below has a slight deviation from the traditional fish curry preparation in Kerala as I added garam masala.Also the curry made with Kudam Puli(Gamboge) imparts a special flavour to the curry than one made with tamarind extract which is popular in Indian stores here. As I personally do not like the flavour of Gamboge I made curry with tamarind extract. In the traditional preparation shallots/small onions and coconut oil are used which gives the required flavour.Also another important point to be kept in mind while making this traditional curry is to add the right amount of tamarind extract and chilly powder. Of course you may vary the amount of chilly powder to suit your taste buds but without the right amount of sourness imparted by tamarind this curry wouldnt taste good.

Kappa Puzhukku(Mashed Tapioca/Yucca)

1 big size Tapioca/Yucca with outer skin removed and cut into pieces
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 dry red chilly cut into halves
4 shallots/small onions
Salt to taste
Water for boiling yucca
Coconut Oil for cooking

  • In a large pan(with sufficient depth) put the yucca pieces and fill with enough water to cover the pieces. Add enough salt. Bring to a boil. When it starts boiling reduce heat(keep at medium heat) and cook until the yucca pieces are soft and almost breakable with a spoon.
  • Meanwhile grind coconut, cumin seeds, turmeric and garlic together by adding water till it turns into a smooth paste. Keep this aside.
  • Heat about 1 tsp of coconut oil in a non stick pan and saute small onions till it turns dark brown. Drain and keep aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil(or add 1 tsp oil if it was used up) and splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and broken red chillies. Saute for a few seconds until the curry leaves have become crispy. Turn off heat and keep this mixture aside.
  • When the yucca pieces are cooked drain off water but reserve some water(about 1/4 cup) in another vessel.
  • Mash the cooked yucca with a masher/spoon and slowly add some of the reserved liquid while mixing well.Take care to see that the mixture doesnt become watery but should be of the consistency as shown in the figure.
  • Keep this yucca mixture on low-medium heat and check if there is enough salt.Add the ground coconut mixture. Stir well so that it gets mixed well. Now add mustard seeds, curry leaves and red chilly mixture along with the small onions. Mix well and remove from heat.

Mathi(Sardine) Curry

8-10 sardines cleaned and cut into pieces
12 small onions/shallots chopped
2 tomatoes
4 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp fresh ginger minced
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 sprigs curry leaves
3 split green chillies
1 tsp chilly powder
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp fenugreek powder
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 tsp tamarind extract dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
Coconut Oil

  • Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and then green chillies. Saute for few seconds.
  • Add minced ginger and garlic and saute for few seconds till you get the aroma.
  • Add chopped onions and saute till it turns brown.
  • Add tomatoes and cook till it turns mushy. If you dont have enough time then you can puree the tomatoes and add at this stage.
  • Reduce heat and add the spice powders-chilly, turmeric, coriander ,garam masala and salt. Saute until the raw smell goes.
  • Increase the heat and add tamarind water and coconut milk along with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil.
  • Now add the fish pieces, reduce heat and simmer with a closed lid until the pieces are cooked well.
  • Evaporate some water if the curry is too watery. Before turning off heat add fenugreek powder, torn curry leaves, 1 tbsp coconut oil and mix well. Turn off heat.
  • Enjoy with Kappa.

Other Seafood Recipes:

Grilled FishShrimp Curry


Raindrop1978 said...

Kandittu kotiyaavunnu!!!yummy!! nice picture and nice recepie

Hari Nair

Raindrop1978 said...

Kandittu kothiyaavunnu....yummy matti curry...nice pic..i will try this yummy combination..wish i get fresh fish in US