Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku

Kappa Puzhukku or Kizhangu Bariyathu is a dish of boiled and mashed tapioca that is mixed with spicy flavour-packed coconut chutney and is finished off with a coconut oil tempering. Served for breakfast or lunch or dinner with fish, chicken or beef curry. 

Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku | Kizhangu Bariyathu

Since the time I moved to UAE, I have been attempting the food that we grew up eating because it is so easy to procure the ingredients here unlike in Yanbu. (Btw, I heard Yanbu is getting a LuLu soon.) But honestly, we don't call this Kappa Puzhukku - this is something I lifted off the web. For us, this is Kizhangu bariyathu or puzhungiyathu, if it is not mashed. 

Tapioca is the staple food of the people of Kerala! You can take a Keralite out of Kerala but not tapioca out of a Keralite. I know it should be Kerala out of Keralite, but I wanted to emphasis on tapioca! 😜 I say this because our childhood was spent amidst Tapioca plants. Daddy had managed to make a mini tapioca farm in our home garden in Coimbatore and there was no dearth of this starch bomb until for some reason we stopped replanting them. I have no memory of why we stopped planting but I am guessing the coconut trees were growing and needed more attention. All this is to say that Kappa is nostalgic comfort food that we love but I don't make often.😐

Our neighbours in Coimbatore are from south of Kerala and so as kids, we always loved their food and their kids loved my mom's food. There was always an exchange of food, recipes and discussion over our dialect and theirs. I am sure by now, my mom would have taught them the Moplah Malayalam!😂So the word "kappa" is used mainly in southern Kerala and I learnt it from our neighbours and it is also easier for me to pronounce than the zh of kizhangu! 😂

Traditionally, Kizhangu Bariyathu is served with sardine red curry in our side but you know F doesn't eat seafood so I serve this with beef curry. I will be sharing the beef recipe soon. InshaAllah! (🙄 I know I keep delaying!)

How to make Kappa Puzhukku or Kizhangu Bariyathu

How I peel tapioca may be questionable for a purist like my dad who sent me videos to explain how it is actually done. But I personally never got it easy unless I dump the whole thing in water and then you can score and peel easily. So, if you also struggled like me, then try soaking in water just for a few minutes. And yes, you have to remove the pink skin too! 

Apart from peeling and chopping, there isn't any challenge in this recipe. Boil, make the coconut paste and mix together and lastly add the tempering! 

Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku | Kizhangu Bariyathu
Clean tapioca pieces, water and salt 

Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku | Kizhangu Bariyathu
boiled to tender 

Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku | Kizhangu Bariyathu
mixing the ground coconut mixture

Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku | Kizhangu Bariyathu

Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku | Kizhangu Bariyathu
cooked further and then add tempering

Tapioca in Spicy Coconut Mixture | Kappa Puzhukku Recipe


To boil tapioca chunks:
  • 1kg tapioca (weighed at the market as whole pieces)
  • Enough water to submerge the pieces
  • Salt to taste
For the spicy coconut paste:
  • 1 cup grated coconut, you may add 1/2 cup more
  • 3 mini shallots, sliced thinly
  • 3 large garlic cloves, diced finely
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or fennel seeds 
  • a few curry leaves  
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
For tempering:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 to 3 whole dried red chillies
  • fistful curry leaves


Boil the tapioca cubes
  1. Peel the tapioca skin and discard any blackened portion. 
  2. Chop them into bite-size and wash thoroughly in a colander under running water to remove all dirt.
  3. Add the tapioca in a deep saucepot and fill it with water and salt to taste.
  4. Bring this to boil and continue to cook until the tapioca pieces are tender but still holds the shape. You may cover and cook too.
  5. Switch off and drain all the water and put back the boiled pieces into the pot. 
Grind the coconut mixture 
  1. Add the grated coconut, shallots, garlic, green chillies, cumin or fennel seeds, curry leaves and salt into a chutney maker and grind to a coarse paste. 
  2. Add this ground mixture to the boiled tapioca along with the turmeric powder and mash it thoroughly using back of the spoon or a potato masher. 
  3. Heat this on low flame while mashing and stirring the mixture. Adjust the salt for taste and cook until the mixture thickens. 
  4. Switch off and keep covered while you prepare the tempering.
Prepare the tempering (tadka)
  1. Heat coconut oil in a small tadka pan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  3. Reduce the flame and add the dried red chillies and curry leaves.
  4. Fry until crisped and pour the tempering over the prepared kappa puzhukku.
  5. Mix thoroughly and serve warm as is or with any spicy fish or beef curry. 
Tapioca in Spicy Coconut | Kappa Puzhukku | Kizhangu Bariyathu

I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then please do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then please do share the recipe with your friends and family on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Please do follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaai so that I can see your creations!