Naadan Kappa Puzhukku
Kappa puzhukku…God’s own country’s gift to all the foodies out there and thus leaving its very own mark in the world cuisine overall. Equally appreciated by all, Kappa Puzhukku needs absolutely no intro to those familiar with Kerala cuisine. An extremely popular name in Kerala households, it is one of my personal favourites too. And it seems that this dish has in fact been formulated to suit all palates; irrespective of all ages and class. And so rightly it does!!!
Puzhukku, to a layman, can be basically described as cooked mushy veggies or tubers or fruits in a mildly spiced coconut base. Though the most common puzhukku are the ones made with Kappa (Tapioca) and Jackfruit (Chakka), there’s also a third naadan version of puzhukku made with all the mushy tubers on the special occasion of Thiruvathira popularly known as “Thiruvathira puzhukku”. Kappa puzhukku is relished at its best when served with its finest accompaniment…yes of course…our own naadan fish curry. And for vegans, I believe we have to settle on a small or rather a liberal helping of simple Ulli chammanthi or Kanthari mulaku chammanthi. But no complaints as long as it continues to be heavenly….:-P
So, here’s how the simple recipe for this great dish goes….
500 gm Kappa(Tapioca)
3 – 4 nos green chillies
½ cup grated coconut
½ tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Turmeric powder
4 – 5 garlic pods
A few curry leaves
Salt – As required
A tbsp of Coconut oil
1)Chop kappa into pieces.
2)Cook it along with salt in a pressure cooker, till done.
3)When done, drain off the excess water using a colander/strainer.
4)Grind together grated coconut, cumin seeds, garlic, curry leaves and turmeric powder along with a little water into a coarse form.
5)Heat up a pan or a kadai.
6)Add the cooked and mashed kappa pieces along with the coconut mixture and allow it to cook.
8)Check for salt and adjust accdgly.
9)Simmer till all the water gets evaporated and it becomes dry.
10)Top it with coconut oil and a few fresh curry leaves.
Pls note that you can also make it in gravy like consistency, in which case, you need to add a little more water and stir, making sure you don’t make it too dry. And since I don’t like it in a gravy form, I’ve made it quite dry as shown in the pic.
You can also alter the quantity of coconut and garlic accdgly. The procedure for Chakka Puzhukku is almost the same except that you need to cook the jackfruit’s fleshy pieces (Chakka chola) in a pan (not pressure cooker) along with a little turmeric powder and salt; then add the coconut mixture and when done, top it with coconut oil. Your puzhukku is ready within no time to be served with your favourite side dish.
Before wrapping up, I’d like to share with you a small personal episode this dish brought along while penning this recipe. I was taken to the distant past and was reminiscing down those lanes of childhood; in due course was found mirrored with a few vague images of a small incident. A rather poignant scene of my mother serving a generous portion of kappa puzhukku into my plate and looking at me with her affectionate eyes; hoping to see me finishing off the whole thing. And me on the contrary looking at her as she serves that sticky and mushy thing; with a plea in my eyes and hoping that she won’t make me eat the whole thing. And before I cud say anything, she’d say, “Mole, ithu muzhuvanum kazhikkanam, ithu nallathanu” (Dear, you must eat it fully, it’s good for your health). And I wud coy around for a while and then would come a rather stuttering answer, “ Amma…enikku venda. Enikku ithu ishta…malla” (Mom, I don’t want this as I don’t like it). This so-called dialogue cum performance would go on for a while when it’d ultimately reach its optimum…. And then the scenes wud become more dramatic and ferocious; with lots of emotional blackmailing and threatening to tag on and then I'd sheepishly succumb to her desires; quickly gulp down the whole thing, wipe off the plate clean and try hard to hide the utter despair and frown on my face. :P
Since then, around two decades have elapsed. The backdrop still remains the same; but there has been a tiny change in the characters played. Today, it was me who was serving a small portion onto my little one’s plate with love and tender, with a hope and plea in my eyes that he’d have at least a bite of it. And not surprisingly enough, it was now his turn to glare at me with those tiny and meek eyes, which says it all; followed by a threatening look for giving him something he detests... :-( And honestly, I stand there dumbstruck contemplating on my next move; shud I go for blackmail or counter threats or rather replace the dish?? Guess the last one wud be the best choice…. Will definitely save lots of time and energy for both of us…. :D
And the ironical fact is that in both the situations, I was at the receiving end of threats. And strangely enough, my amma who was witnessing the whole episode, had infact come to his rescue immediately, offering him a substitute food. And now it was my turn to glare at her; trying hard to find the reasons for such contradictory actions on her part. And there…she was simply walking off with a chuckle to the kitchen to get something else that’d satisfy her grandson’s appetite…leaving me infact quite perplexed all along. :(
Life can be so funny at times. The attitudes of the people have become so vulnerable to emotions and circumstances. You change as you grow or you grow as you change…. Too confusing? :) Well, I guess all grandparents are like that…. You can never understand them…. Moms are after all moms and can never be like grandmas and grandmas can never be like moms. Rather confusing again…. Maybe, I’ll get the point when I become a grandma myself…. But too long a way to go…. :-)
So, on that elongated note, happy cooking!!!
Labels: Naadan Veg Curries