We decided to kick start our blogging experiment with the traditional favorite - Kappa and Meen (Tapioca with Fish Pulimolagu or moleshyam or mulaghittu style). Though Kappa (also commonly known as Yucca /Cassava/Maricheeni/Kolli) is an ordinary tubular root rich in starch, it churns out its exquisite flavor when paired with fish curry. Kappa is readily available in most Asian /Indian stores. In this recipe we have used Mathi (Sardines) for the fish curry in an effort to closely bring it to its most popular style as served in the toddy shops across Kerala. An additional compliment to this platter is the ulli chamanthi (Onion chutney).
Ingredients: (Quantity based on a meal for two)
Yucca roots : 2-3 Medium sized
Salt: to taste
Turmeric: 1/2 teaspoon
Water: 1/2 cup (Just enough to cook it without getting burnt at the bottom)
Grated coconut: 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds (Jeerakam): 1 teaspoon
Green Chillies: 2-3 (depending on the required spice level)
Red pearl onions (Cheriya ulli/Shallots): 3-4
Garlic Pods: 2 medium sized
Oil: 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
Curry Leaves: 8-10 leaves
Dried red Chillies: 1-2
Peel off the tough brown skin of the yucca root with a knife. Chop up the inner white part into small pieces(does not have to be uniformly cut). Boil these pieces with turmeric and salt in little water. Check on them to see if they are mashing up which usually takes about 15 -20 mins. Meanwhile grind the coconut + cumin + green chillies + garlic + red onions into a coarse paste. Add this paste into the boiled yucca and mix well. Finally let the mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves splutter in oil and add it to the yucca. Stir up just before serving.
Tins of sardines in tomato and chilli: 1(one tin contains usually 4 fishes)
Red Pearl onions (Cheriya ulli/Shallots): 5-6 (sliced)
Green chilies: 3 (slit)
Garlic pods: 2 (finely chopped)
Ginger : 1 slice (finely chopped)
Curry leaves: 10 leaves
Tomato: 1/2 medium sized (sliced)
Tamarind paste: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Red chili powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt: to taste
Methi Seeds(Uluva): 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Oil: 1 teaspoon
*Meen curry will taste best if it is cooked in a naadan Chatti (Earthen clay pot) the previous day as the flavors integrate sitting overnight.
Begin with sauteeing the methi seeds, red pearl onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, curry leaves, red chili powder, turmeric powder in oil for few minutes. Add the tomato slices and tamarind water to it and let it simmer for a few minutes.Once the onions and tomatoes are cooked, add the sardines along with its base sauce.Cover the pot and let it cook for 10 mins on medium heat. Since sardines cook fast, make sure they are not overdone as they tend to break up. Finally taste and adjust the salt /spice /tartiness accordingly.
Red pearl onions (Cheriya ulli/Shallots): 6-7
Green Chillies: 2
Tamarind: 1/2 teaspoon
Oil: 1 teaspoon ( Coconut oil enhances the taste)
Salt to taste
Grind up all of the above ingredients to make the chutney.