Tuesday, 23 August 2016




          For centuries, the people of Kerala and cassava (or kappa as it is called in Malayalam) have been conjoined as inseparably as body and soul. Ever since the Portuguese introduced cassava in India nearly 4 centuries ago, the farmers of Kerala have come to consider it as the poor man’s bread and have developed a staunch liking for this delicious root.

The Christian community in particular, accepted this food crop so wholeheartedly that the first settlers in the hill districts of Wayanad and Idukki as well as the foothills of most other districts subsisted almost entirely on cassava grown on land cleared of forests.

Even today, many families are happy to enjoy cassava in place of rice or wheat 4 to 5 times a day, having it with mulake / mulaku chammandi, meen mulakittathe, wheat curries, bone marrow biriyani or as sardine cassava. From the poor man’s kitchen, cassava has now earned its place with royal splendour upon the dining tables in 5 star hotels. Cassava is called kappa, mara kizhangu, poola and kolli kizhangu in Malayalam and badi kanange in Konkani. In Wayanad district, tens of delicious varieties of cassava are cultivated, the tastiest of them being Aambakkadan.

My children love cassava and often ask me to make dishes like kozhikkal, kizhangu pori, cassava sticklets, kappa with mulake chammandi, chendan (boiled pieces) kappa with losune gojju, cassava upma, kappa bonda or cassava bhaji. Here is a fine recipe for kappa with mulake chammandi. Do cook and enjoy!

Ingredients for the kappa:

     1)    Peeled, washed and roughly chopped cassava cubes (see note) – 1300 gm.
     2)    Water – 1500 ml.
     3)    Salt – 15 gm. (3 teaspoons)
     4)    Turmeric powder – 3 gm. (½ teaspoon)
     5)    Hot green chilies – 10 gm.
     6)    Dry hot red chilies – 2 gm.
     7)    Mustard seeds – 5 gm. (1 teaspoon)
     8)    Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
     9)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
     10)    Grated coconut – 100 gm.
     11)    Coconut water – 75 ml.

Ingredients for the mulake chammandi:

     1)    Hot green chilies or pigeon eye chilies (kandari mulake) – 20 gm.
     2)    Dry hot red chilies – 2 gm.
     3)    Peeled garlic cloves – 10 gm.
     4)    Vinegar / tamarind juice / garcinia cambogia (kudampuli) juice – 50 ml.
     5)    Salt – 10 gm. (2 teaspoons)


To make the mulake chammandi:

          Chop both the chilies and the garlic cloves to fine bits and put them in a tiny serving bowl. Tip in the salt, pour in the vinegar, mix well. Your simple, mouthwatering mulake chammandi is ready.

To cook the kappa:

          Put the cassava cubes, the water, the salt and the turmeric powder into a vessel and set on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and cover partially with a lid. Stir occasionally and let the cassava cook for 15 minutes. Press upon a cube with the edge of a sharp ladle or a knife to see if it is cooked. The cube should slice easily. If not, continue to cook for a few more minutes (cooking times may vary slightly for different cultivars grown in different soils).

          Switch off the heat and drain off the broth. It is important to drain off all the water as it gets rid of the sap of the cassava as well as any soil borne pollutants, rendering it quite safe to eat (see note). Now pour in the coconut water and set aside.

          Chop the hot green chilies as well as the dry hot red chilies to fine bits. Pull the curry leaves off their sprig and set aside. Set a skillet or small pan on low heat. Pour in the coconut oil and throw in the mustard seeds.

          As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish popping, throw in the curry leaves and the chili bits. Stir once, switch off the heat and empty the contents into the kappa.

          Turn on the heat and stir the kappa well for a minute. Tip in the grated coconut and stir nicely. Switch off the heat. Enjoy your delicious kappa hot with mulake chammandi. I am sure you will love this dish.

Bon app├ętit!


     1)    While chopping the cassava tubers, be sure to remove the thick, hard, long fibre that runs through the centre as well as the hard, bony end where the cassava connects to the stem of the plant. 2 kg. of freshly dug cassava will give you over 1300 gm. of clean, usable portions.

     2)    Raw cassava is poisonous. So it is always best eaten well cooked. Rats and bandicoots consume large quantities of raw cassava without ill effects as they are wise enough to eat charcoal to nullify the toxic sap. This technique, however, is definitely not for us humans!

No comments:

Leave a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Follow us by Email and never miss a new recipe!