This is a classic Kerala dish in the local toddy shop – a local ‘pub’ where the local men go to drink palm ‘toddy’ (a mildly alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm tree flower stems). The toddy is often served with very spicy fish curry and tapioca.

At Marari Villas, this dish is normally served on Sunday in our ‘toddy shop menu’ – part of our 7 day ‘Kerala Delights’ menu that celebrates the varied flavours of Kerala cuisine.  Our chefs at Marari Villas blend their own fish masala which gives it its unique and authentic flavour.

The cassava plant was brought to Kerala by the Portuguese and is still often called ‘Tapioca’, which originates from the Portuguese word, though the local Malayalam name is ‘Kappa’.



Tapioca (Kappa) Recipe


  • Tapioca: 1 kg
  • Grind together: 1 cup grated coconut; 1 pinch cumin seeds; 1 garlic clove; 1 green chili
  • Salt: to taste
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Red chili: 1 for garnish


  1. Peel the tapioca and wash it thoroughly. Cut into rough cubes by driving the knife in and splitting it from the central core
  2. Cook the tapioca in a pan with salt and turmeric powder and enough water to cover it by an inch, until the pieces are soft (about 10-15 mins)
  3. Crush or coarsely grind the garlic, coconut, cumin and green chilli together in a pestle and Mortar
  4. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the garlic-chilli paste, mix together and fry for 10 seconds until fragrant
  5. Add the cooked tapioca, mix well and continue to stir until the spices coat the tapioca
  6. Add red chili and curry leaves to garnish



Travancore Fish Curry


  • Coconut oil: ½ table spoon
  • Mustard seeds: 1 pinch
  • Fenugreek: 1 table spoon
  • Onion: 1 (chopped)
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1 table spoon
  • King fish (seer fish): 300 grams – 6 large cubes or 3 steaks
  • Curry leaves: A few
  • Tomato: 1 large (cut into cubes)
  • Chef’s Fish Masala: Mix together ½ tsp fenugreek powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder, 1 pinch ginger-garlic powder, 2 tsp coriander powder
  • Green chili: 1
  • Kokum (garcenia): 2pcs
  • Water: 1 cup
  • Coconut milk: 1 cup
  • Salt: Add to taste


  1. Heat the oil in the pan, drop in the mustard seeds and heat until they pop. Add fenugreek, onion, ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes
  2. Add the curry leaves, tomato, green chili, salt to taste and sauté for 3 minutes
  3. Add the fish masala (see mix above) and kokum and pour in the water
  4. Bring to the boil, then add the fish and cook for 5-7 minutes
  5. Pour in the coconut milk last, mix together, take off the heat and cover

Chef’s tip: Add the salt BEFORE the fish masala to stop the strong eye-watering reaction when mixing in the masala! In the north (Malabar) region of Kerala, tamarind is used instead of kokum.

Serve with freshly tapped toddy or a cool beer!

Enjoy your meal.


Why not wash that down with a South African Bojito? Or try your hand at Six Senses’ Octopus Miga or  The Mudhouse’s Okra Curry >>