Category Archives: Flavours of India

Kappa and Meen Curry (Kerala Cuisine)

Respect for one’s own cuisine, would also result in respect for cuisines around the world, and cuisines around you. Kerala is neighbourhood to Tamilnadu; and both the states share close linguistic, cultural and cuisinical ties. Specialities like Aappam, Avial, Payasam, Puttu, Appam, Coconut Milk Curries and many more, can be found in different versions in both the South Indian States of India.

When one of my neighbours from Kerala, my good friend ‘N’, sent me Kappa and Meen Curry – Tapioca and Fish Curry – I couldn’t stop licking the curry, full of flavour. The combined flavours of Coconut and Kudampuli and shine on the curry – from the coconut oil, stayed in my mind for a long time.

Kappa or Tapioca is called Maravalli Kizhangu in Tamil. In some parts of Tamilnadu, it is also called Kappa Kizhangu. ‘Kizhangu’ is a generic term for tubers.

Kudampuli is a tamarind variety, that belongs to the species of Garcinia. It is also called Malabar Tamarind.

So, got the authentic household recipe from ‘N’ and tried to make at home. The joy of making one of Kerala’s most popular dishes- (with Kappa (cooked tapioca)- that’s two of Kerala’s traditional dishes) – was truly overwhelming.

Thanks ‘N’ for the recipe. I have to confess, mine was not as good as hers.

Kappa and Meen Curry – Tapioca and Fish Curry

Ingredients (for approximately 1/2 a kilo of fish)

  • Fish – clean and cut to small or medium sized pieces – 1/2 kg

For the curry

  • grated coconut – 1/2 a coconut
  • turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • salt – to taste
  • ginger – 2 inch piece
  • kudampuli – 3 pieces washed and soaked in water
  • curry leaves – a handful

For seasoning

  • coconut oil – 3 tbsp
  • shallots – 8-10 -sliced
  • curry leaves – a handful
  • green chillies and garlic – optional

Preparing the Fish Curry

  1. I used Black Pomfret. Feel free to use any fish; with bones or fillet as preferred

2. In a mixie jar, grind coconut, powders- (turmeric, chilli, salt) and ginger into a smooth paste

3. According to the original recipe, ginger was smashed and added to the curry. To get the flavour and spice of ginger, I blended it with the paste.

4. In a Clay Curry Pot (Man Chatti in Tamil), add the paste with enough water to make a watery curry

5. Add the Kudampuli/Garcinia with the soaked water and curry leaves

6. Check salt – add more if needed. Let the curry simmer for a while

7. When the raw smell of spices change and the curry has boiled well, add the cleaned fish pieces

8. Let the fish cook in the boiling hot curry for at least 20 minutes, with stove in sim position

9. Little more than 20 minutes, the oil from the ground coconut would show up on the curry

10. Check the curry. If you prefer it to be thicker, boil in medium fire – till it reaches desired thickness

11. When the curry is ready, season it.

12. Heat coconut oil and add sliced shallots and curry leaves

13. When they are fried a bit, add to the fish curry

14. Half a tsp of red chilli powder fried in oil, can also be poured on top of the curry. This renders a beautiful red colour and extra flavour to the curry.

15. Serve hot with boiled Kappa – Tapioca.

16. The amounts of coconut and chilli powder can be altered as per family preference.

Boiled Tapioca

  1. Peel the Tapioca.
  2. Cut to small to medium pieces
  3. Wash well till the extra starch is removed and is clean
  4. In a pressure cooker, add water, salt and turmeric to the tapioca
  5. Cook till 3 full whistles. no need to simmer
  6. Season with coconut oil, mustard seeds, green chillies and curry leaves
  7. Sprinkle grated fresh coconut before serving (if preferred).
  8. Serve with Fish Curry