Delicious one-pot meal, with kappa-tapioca & chicken…
Kerala-style Kappa (tapioca) and chicken biryani is a unique and delicious dish that combines the starchy goodness of tapioca with the flavors of chicken biryani, a popular dish in Kerala. Kerala being a tropical place, tapioca is found in abundance and is one of the staple foods in Kerala. A variety of dishes can be made with tapioca. Boiled tapiocas are stir-fried with grated coconut, kappa puzhukku- tapioca cooked with ground coconut, boiled tapiocas enjoyed with a spicy dipping, etc.
Kappa Biryani is a delightful twist on the classic biryani, which is a beloved and iconic dish in Indian cuisine. While traditional biryani primarily revolves around fragrant basmati rice and a variety of meats or vegetables cooked with aromatic spices, Kappa Biryani introduces an unexpected element that sets it apart. In Kappa Biryani, cooked tapioca, locally known as “kappa” in Kerala is added instead of rice. Tapioca is a starchy root vegetable that offers a distinct texture and flavor. When combined with the quintessential biryani ingredients, it adds a unique and delightful dimension to the dish.
The marriage of tender, flavorful chicken (or your choice of protein) and perfectly cooked tapioca pieces, along with the signature biryani spices, creates a harmonious fusion of taste and texture. Kappa biryani embodies the essence of Kerala’s culinary innovation, where traditional and regional ingredients are creatively blended. This is a perfect one-pot meal enjoyed by everyone.
I add a tempering towards the end over the kappa biryani, that tempering greatly enhances the aroma & taste of this dish.
Can be made with chicken, beef, mutton, fish, or shrimp.
Kappa-Tapioca Biryani With Chicken
- Kappa or Tapioca- 3 fresh tapioca, diced or 4 cups
- Chicken breast, cut into cubes- 2 chicken breasts (or use bone-in chicken pieces)
- Kashmiri chili powder- 1½ tsp (or more spice add regular chili powder)
- Turmeric powder- ⅛ tsp
- Garam masala- 1 tsp
- Coriander powder- 2 tsp
- Fennel powder- 1 tsp
- Salt- 1 tsp
- Ginger- 2-inch slice
- Garlic- 3 large cloves
- Green chili- 1 or 2
- Cardamom, whole- 2
- Cloves, whole- 2
- Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
- Oil- 2 tbsp
- Ghee- 1 tbsp
- Onions, sliced thin- 3, yellow onions
- Dried bay leaves- 2
- Curry leaves- 1 sprig
- Tomatoes, chopped- 1
- Salt- 1 tsp
- Water- ¾ cup
- Cilantro, chopped- 3 tbsp
- Ghee- 2 tbsp
- Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
- Shallots, minced- 1, large or 2 small/pearl onions
- Dried red chilies, halved- 3
- Curry leaves- 1 sprig
- I've used 3 fresh tapioca or yuca or you can use 4 cups of diced frozen tapioca available in most Indian stores.
- Peel off the skin from the tapioca using a peeler and dice them (half the tapioca vertically, again half them & dice them into chunks).
- I pressure cooked the tapiocas in my Instant Pot, add the tapiocas to the stainless pot, add 2 cups water & ½ tsp salt, select pressure cook setting set the time to 12 minutes at high pressure.
- After pressure cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes & then do a quick pressure release. Drain the liquid in the pot & keep aside the cooked tapioca.
- Or cook in a saucepan over the stovetop: Add the diced tapiocas to a large saucepan, season with ½ tsp salt and cover it with water, cook till the tapioca turns fork tender, it should be very soft.
- Drain the water and keep aside the cooked tapioca.
- To a bowl, add the chicken along with the above-mentioned spices for marination. I've taken 2 boneless chicken breasts diced, you can also use bone-in chicken pieces.
- Combine well & keep aside the chicken.
- To a mortar, add the above-mentioned 'to crush' ingredients & crush using a pestle. Or you can coarsely grind then in a spice grinder.
- Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat, add coconut oil & ghee.
- Add dried bay leaves, saute for a few seconds.
- Add the sliced onions, ½ tsp salt, curry leaves and cook till onions turn translucent.
- Add the crushed ingredients to the onions, saute till onions turn light golden in color.
- Add the tomatoes and cook till they are mashed up.
- Now add the marinated chicken & combine well.
- Cook covered for a few minutes, liquid will ooze out of the chicken & let the chicken cook in that liquid.
- When it starts to dry, add ¾ cup warm water and cook covered till the chicken has cooked well.
- Let all the liquid dry off.
- Add the cooked tapioca to the chicken, slightly mash them using a wooden spoon and combine well with the chicken. Don't make it into a paste, tapiocas should be bite size pieces.
- Cook for a few minutes.
- Taste & add salt if required.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro, combine well.
- Take the pan off the heat & keep it covered.
- Make the tempering: place a small frying pan over medium heat, add ghee let turn hot.
- add mustards seeds, let splutter.
- Add shallots or small/pearl onions minced, fry till they turn golden in color.
- Add dried red chilies halved & curry leaves, saute for a few seconds.
- Immediately pour the tempering over the cooked tapioca biryani & keep it covered for a few minutes, let the aroma from the tempering infuse into the tapioca chicken.
- Don't skip adding the tempering, enhances the taste & aroma of this dish greatly.
- Serve in a plate & enjoy this absolutely delicious tapioca biryani, perfect one-pot meal.