Irachi Kappa Biriyani / Kerala Tapioca and Beef Biryani
Mostly popular in middle Kerala, in Kottayam and Idukki region, this Kappa Biriyani is a popular dish in Toddy shop or shaaps (The Kerala equivalent of countryside taverns). Although we stay away from them, these shaaps serve some of the best food in Kerala
Yields: 6 to 8 Servings
Ingredients for roasted masala
1 cup grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions for roasted masala
Heat the oil in a large frying pan add grated coconut and sauté until it turns brown. (Be sure not to burn it). Switch off the stove and add turmeric powder, kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, coriander powder, garam masala and fennel seeds. In a blender or mini food processor combine browned coconut and ½ cup water to make a paste like thick pesto. Set aside.
Ingredients for Kappa
2lb kappa / tapioca (my preference is frozen tapioca), cut into medium sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Directions for Kappa / Tapioca
Wash the cubed pieces thoroughly in cold water; fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover the Kappa / Tapioca and bring to a boil. Add Kappa/Tapioca and turmeric. Bring to a boil again and cook until the kappa / tapioca until it is soft when pierced with a fork / knife. Drain off the water completely.
Ingredients for beef marinate
2 green chilies, minced
1 medium size onion diced
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon fresh ginger and garlic paste (see notes)
2 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (see notes)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions for marinate beef
Cut the beef into small pieces about the same size as that of tapioca
Mix all ingredients for beef marinate along with beef and set it aside for about 30 minutes.
Ingredients for beef curry
2lb short ribs (Use ribs with some meat attached. Even though you can make this with meat only, its taste won’t come near the one that made with bones. Ask your butcher to cut it into stew size pieces. Remove some of the excess fat but do keep some. If you can’t get short ribs then use a fatty cut of beef along with one or two small bone marrow)
Directions for beef curry
Pressure cook the marinated beef pieces on medium heat without adding any water for about 3 or 4 whistles and then release the pressure. For Instant Pot set to pressure and set timer for 20 minutes and then move the valve to release. If there is excess water turn on the stove evaporate the most of the water (Instant Pot: turn sauté feature to evaporate water).
Ingredients for tempering
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 dry red chilies
1 sprigs curry leaves
4 shallots, finely chopped
Ingredients for garnishing
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
Directions for tempering and biryani
In a large pot (i.e. Dutch oven) heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and cover. When the seeds popped for a few seconds, toss in the curry leaves, shallots and red chilies and sauté until it turns golden brown.
Add the coconut paste and cook over a medium flame for about 3 to 4 minutes. Now add the cooked beef pieces along with the water left in the pressure cooker and mix well.
Finally add cooked tapioca pieces mix well until everything is combined and tapioca is heated through.
Garnish with chopped red onions and cilantro and serve with Raita, Pickle or Pappadam on the side and Enjoy!
Adjust the spice level according to your taste. Kashmiri chili powder gives a nice color to the curry without being too spicy. If you are using regular chili powder, use according to your spice level.
Especially for a recipe like this, it’s important to practice Mise en place. Meaning having everything in place before we start cooking. In this case, have all the prep work done ahead and measure out all species ahead of time