In old days, Kappa Kizhangu (Tapioca) was the food of the poor man in Kerala. Nowadays Kappa is in vogue and it takes place of pride even on the rich man’s dining table.
No other food item has so many names in Malayalam – Kolli, Kolli kizhangu, Kappa Kizhangu, Maracheeni, Marakkizhangu, Mathokku, Poola and Poola kizhangu.
Kappa is Cassava (Yuca). Yes, the tuber that support the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Native to South America, Cassava is a staple food in many African countries.
This root vegetable looks similar to sweet potato and yam, except for the thick scaly skin which protects white meat. This kernel is the edible part.
Kappa plant is easy to grow. It grows from planted stem
cuts. It doesn’t need much water and grows well in the tropics. It can be grown
throughout the year. Usually harvested in around 4-6 months, when the plant is
In Kerala, Kappa is mainly served in two forms- Kappa Puzhungiyathu and Kappa Stew. Kappa is served mostly for breakfast.
Kolli Puzhungiyathu is simply boiled tapioca. Cut the kernel into small pieces and boil it water. Add a bit of salt. Once cooked, drain the water.
Bioled tapioca is usually eaten with curries. Kappa with fish curry is the classic combo, especially Kappa and Sardine curry. Kappa is rich in carbs, so with fish, it makes a good diet.
Kappa stew is boiled tapioca, roasted with onion and spice mix. Tapioca breaks down to smaller pieces. It forms a mushy mix, delicious and usually eaten without curries. Nothing wrong in eating with curries as well.
Kappa is gluten free. Hence suitable for gluten intolerant people. Also, it has low GI, is grain and nut free. That is why diabetics and people with certain allergies have it.
Nowadays frozen Kappa is available in super markets in the west.
Chips made from Kappa Kizhangu is a popular snack in Kerala.