Tapioca (Koppa) Biriyani


It has been awhile since I posted but I hope this post will make up for it. Will see if I can get back into the cooking, picture taking and posting thing again.

Koppa Biriyani is a typical Kerala dish encompassing all the flavors keralites love. I think if a cooking show challenged me to make a dish that epitomizes Kerala cooking and my palate then it may be this dish that I would choose to make.

Koppa is tapioca or yucca. This ubiquitous root vegetable is an everyday staple in Kerala households (and toddy shops!) and when cooked is like potatoes. It can be eaten very simply boiled and salted served with a fish curry or a shallot chutney or cooked with turmeric yellow, coconut mixture. Koppa and Fish curry is the most commonest combination but I love the way meat goes with it. Beef is eaten widely in Kerala and added to koppa it is amazing. Any meat probably could be substituted. This is a very “meat and potatoes” meal. Biriyani is a misnomer because that dish usually has rice with some type of meat but instead of the rice this uses tapioca. Enjoy!


Koppa Biriyani


3 lbs or so of Chuck Roast- Beef, cubed ( can use lamb, goat or chicken)

2 lbs  of Frozen or fresh Tapioca/Yucca pieces

2 tbs Oil of your choice-coconut oil will taste more authentic

1 lg onion- sliced

1/4 tsp Mustard seeds

2 tbs Ginger, chopped

2 tbs Garlic chopped

3-4 dried Red chilies

Meat masalas appox 1-2 tsps. each- garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, red chilly powder

Sprig of Curry leaves and cilantro for garnsh

Salt to taste



Boil Tapioca chunks in a large stockpot of salted water. Cook until tender yet holds it shape. Drain and remove center fibers and cube into chunks. Set aside.

Meat preparation-In a large saute pan, add oil and when hot add mustard seed. Allow to pop. Then add onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and saute until softened. Add red chillies. Add masala powders and saute for a few seconds then add meat. Add salt to taste. Toss well and let cook until tender. Cover the pot for the first 10 minutes or then uncover. You want the curry to be semi-dry. Add a little water if sticking to pan. This will take at least 20 minutes. You should have tender meat pieces with a little bit of thick gravy.

Combine tapioca chunks with the meat curry and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.