Yucca/Tapioca ‘Rice’ || Kappa Puttu using grated kappa || (Vegan, Gluten free, Paleo, AIP)

If you have been following my blog, you might wonder why I am posting this kappa Puttu recipe again? Well guess what this is a different way of making kappa puttu.  I guess this is the traditional way of making it.  What I had posted earlier was an easy or short cut version.  Actually speaking both versions are not that hard and if you already have some cooked leftover kappa (yucca) then you can go for the recipe I posted earlier.  My aunt had suggested I try making Kappa puttu since that would be a great grain free bread option for me.  I loved the version I made before.  However my darling cousins kept insisting that I should try making it using raw grated yucca (tapioca) and that tastes much better. So then how could I not give it a try right?

My husband was kind enough to grate the yucca for me. Since yucca is hard, it is really a little tough on my weak RA stricken hands to grate this. Hence so kind of him to volunteer!  Well the resultant ‘puttu’ was moist and delicious and the texture was ‘rice’ like.!  And goes perfect with some chicken curry or fish curry! Yum!

Puttu is traditionally steamed using an utensil called “puttu Kodam’ which basically consists of a long mould that fits on top of a steamer pot.  Since I don’t have this contraption, I make do with a strainer fitted on top of a cooking pot.  To get a round shape, I pack the cooked ‘puttu’ in a small bowl and then invert it onto the serving plate. But if you have a puttu maker, you can make it in that.  You can check out what a puttu maker looks like over here.

This Yucca Puttu or Yucca Rice as I like to call it as become my staple ‘bread’ for eating with fish / chicken curry and has made my transition into a Paleo diet so much more acceptable! I don’t miss rice anymore since this yucca rice is so delicious and perfectly complements curries since it has the wonderful ability to sop up all that gravy! yum! Traditionally, kappa Puttu uses a mix of kappa (yucca/tapioca) and rice flour. But I replaced rice flour with coconut flour to keep it Paleo. But you can use same recipe replacing rice flour with coconut flour too.

Yucca/Tapioca 'Rice' (Kappa Puttu)
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, Paleo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Freshly grated yucca mixed with coconut / rice flour and steamed to get a 'rice' like consistency that is a perfect complement to spicy Indian curries like chicken curry, fish curry or vegetable curries
  • 1 cup freshly grated Yucca (tapioca or kappa)
  • ½ cup coconut flour (or rice flour) (Use coconut flour for Paleo, AIP version)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut (or frozen grated coconut thawed)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the freshly grated yucca/tapioca. Add the coconut flour (or rice flour) and salt. Add the freshly grated coconut. Mix well using your hands.
  2. Steam this mixture using a Puttu maker or using a make shift steamer as explained below.
  3. For make shift steamer, fill a large cooking pot ¼ th with water and heat till water boils. Place a strainer that fits on top of this pot on it and spread the yucca mixture over it. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and steam cook for about 10 minutes. To serve, pack in small bowls or moulds and invert onto a plate.


Steamed Yucca Coconut Cake (Kappa Puttu)

One of the reasons I find the Paleo diet not only ‘doable’ but in fact, enjoyable is due to the fact that it allows me to go back to my Keralan roots! And yes pun intended there. You see root vegetables are the only starches allowed in Paleo and in AIP (autoimmune protocol).  These root vegetables include sweet potatoes, yams, celeriac root, turnip root, horseradish root, yucca, plantains and taro root.  Sweet potatoes and yams I love love love.  So no issues there and then yucca, plantains and taro root (called as arabi in Hindi) being very common in Kerala cuisine, these are all comfort foods for me. Plus I have so many Keralan recipes to draw from – which gives me so many ideas for new ‘Paleo meals’ for myself.

Puttu or Pittu is a very staple Keralan breakfast food. It is also popular in srilanka and Tamil nadu. It is sort of a steamed cake made with rice flour and coconut.  It is really a very healthy and nutritious breakfast dish since it is steamed and is eaten with a curry so no sugar involved! It is funny that growing up I never liked Puttu!  Whenever amma made Puttu for breakfast, I would sulk. Puttu is usually eaten with Kadala (black gram) curry or some other lentil curry.  I totally hated that combination and would grudgingly eat the Puttu with some sugar sprinkled on top!  Fortunately or unfortunately, my husband nurtured the same ‘not so warm’ feelings for Puttu as I did and so after marriage we never made Puttu at home 🙂 Many years ago when my mom had visited us, she had got a small Puttu Kodam for me. Puttu Kodam is an utensil used to steam the Puttu and looks like this.  Since I had no desire at that time to make Puttu , I sent it back with her!

And now last month as I was talking with my aunt in Kerala about my Paleo diet and how I don’t eat any rice or any grains, she suggested that I try making Kappa Puttu i.e. Puttu made with Yucca (cassava or tapioca) and coconut. She suggested grating raw Yucca and then making the Puttu. However, that seemed too tedious for me and luckily I came across a recipe which used boiled yucca and rice flour.  I tried to use the same method to try making puttu using a ‘make shift’ steamer cum puttu maker assembled using a cooking pot and a large sieve that fit on top of the pot.  I skipped the rice flour and used coconut flour instead.

The Puttu came out fabulous and was really a breeze to make. I ate it with kozhuva curry (anchovy coconut curry).  You could also have with any other curry or just mixed with a ripe banana. Yum.!

In case you are not familiar with yucca or cassava, here’s a picture. It’s a but hard to cut but you need to chop them the same way you chop sweet potato or yams by giving it a hard whack and then breaking it apart using your hands. Peeling the skin is also easier when you use a similar technique. Once you have it cut into pieces, you can either steam them or cook it with some water and salt.  In this recipe, I am using boiled kappa and hence you need to do this step beforehand.

Steamed Yucca Coconut Cake (Kappa Puttu)
Recipe type: MAIN COURSE; Breakfast
Cuisine: Kerala
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Yucca Puttu is a steamed cake made with yucca and coconut. This has a loose crumbly consistency and tastes wonderful with fish curry or any other spicy curry!
  • 1 cup boiled yucca(tapioca/cassava/kappa) pieces
  • ½ cup rice flour (or coconut flour for paleo version)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup freshly grated coconut (or fresh frozen grated coconut)
  • extra grated coconut for topping
  1. In a food processor, add the boiled kappa (yucca /cassava) pieces. Also add the flour (rice or coconut flour depending upon what you are using and the salt and pulse for a few seconds (10-15 secs)till you get a coarse, crumbly mixture. Do NOT over mix otherwise you will get a big lump.
  2. Now if you have a puttu maker, pack this mixture into the puttu maker mould and steam.
  3. If you do not have a puttu maker, heat water in a cooking pot (water should fill about ¼ of the pot). Place a steamer vessel (or a sieve) on top of this pot and place the kappa mixture as a thin layer on this steamer/sieve. See step wise pictures below. Cover this with a lid tightly to make sure no steam escapes. Steam cook for 7-8 minutes on medium heat. Turn heat off.
  4. Transfer the cooked puttu to a small bowl and press it with a spoon to make it compact. Turn this onto a plate to get a dome shaped puttu. Add freshly grated coconut on top. Serve warm with curry or a ripe banana!

For curry recipes to eat with Puttu, check out my following posts:

Kerala FISH CURRY fish curry with coconut milk post

Kerala Fish curry without coconut milk

BLACK GRAM CURRY kadala curry

Boiled kappa(yucca) pieces

Pulse kappa pieces with flour and coconut in the food processor/grinder

Mixture should look crumbly like this.

Place mixture on sieve

Place sieve on top on pot with boiling water

Cover pot and steam for 7-8 minutes.

Tapioca(Cassava) with onion chutney – “Kappa and Ulli chamanthi”

Steamed CassavaCassava or Yuca root , called as ‘Kappa’ in Malayalam, is widely grown in southern India especially in Kerala and thereby is a staple in Kerala cuisine.  Tapioca/Cassava is common in many other cuisines like South American and South Asian.  For folks who get confused between tapioca and Cassava, they both essentially refer to the same root vegetable, however, Cassava or Yuca is the vegetable in its natural form where as tapioca is referred to the products made from cassava such a tapioca starch or tapioca pearls. In India, though only the word tapioca is used for all the products. So less confusion there 🙂

For those who are not familiar with this root, it tastes a little bit like potato – starchy and soft texture but does have a typical flavor that is different from a potato. Here’s a pic of this vegetable for folks who have never seen it before so that next time you see it in your grocers, you will feel tempted to pick it up!

yuca picture

In Kerala, Kappa is served at breakfast or as a main course at lunch or dinner – pretty much anytime 🙂 Generally for a main meal, it is paired with either fish curry or beef curry.  But could also be served up with a simple fiery onion/red chili chutney which is an irresistible combination anytime of the day!

We usually get good cassava from our Asian supermarket. Chopping it can be a challenge if you do not follow the right technique. It’s skin is very hard but if you just hit it with a large knife just as a butcher would while butchering meat, it easily breaks apart. and then you can peel the outer covering using the knife and then further cut it into pieces. In kerala, generally these are cut as large chunks and steamed. Of course in my house, the hubby had the privilege of chopping it. Lucky me 🙂

And then the onion chutney! This one is again one of those pounding ones! You need to pull out your mortar and pestle for this one.

IMG_1972 IMG_1975The chutney gets its flavor from the pounding of the onion, garlic and red chillies. A slight tinge of tamarind and a drizzle of coconut oil! Just finger-licking good!

Linking to Throwback Thursday and Fiesta Friday. Your co-hosts this week at Fiesta Friday are Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen and Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport.

Kappa and Ulli Chamanthi Steamed Tapioca with onion chutney

Tapioca with onion chutney (Kappa and Ulli chamanthi)

  • Servings: Serves 4-6
  • Time: about 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


For the Kappa

14-18 pieces of Kappa or Cassava (about 2 medium size)

1/2 cup water

1 1/4 tsp salt


Place the cut kappa pieces in a cooking pot with the water and salt. Place pot on medium heat until the water starts boiling. immediately turn heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid (leaving a small vent open for steam to escape). Cook for about 5-7 minutes until kappa turns soft and is cooked.


  • If there is extra water after the kappa is cooked, just drain it.
  • If all water is drained and kappa is still hard and not cooked, add a little bit more water.
  • You could also steam the Kappa pieces in a steamer.

Ulli Chamanthi (onion chutney)

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pearl onions or red onions
  • 2-3 dry red chillies (depending upon how much hot you like)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tiny nickel size piece of kodampuli* dissolved in 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • extra coconut oil to drizzle


In a small heating pan, heat the oil. Add the onions and the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes until garlic is toasted. Add the dry red chillies and again sauce for 1 more minute (do not burn the red chillies). Turn heat off.

In a mortar and pestle or a chopper, crush all3 together – onion, garlic and chillies. Add salt and kodampuli(tamarind) water and again pound to get thick chunky mixture. (should NOT be paste). Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with coconut oil before serving.


*: I use Kodampuli and not tamarind. Kodampuli is a type of sour fruit found in kerala – check my glossary page for more information and is considered beneficial in ayurveda. So I am guessing it should be ok for ‘paleo’ too . However you can replace with lemon juice if you cannot get either.


Kappa and Ulli Chamanthi