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Kappa Cutlet (Cassava Cakes)


2 tsp
Cassava root
2/3 pound
Vegetable oil
2 tbsp
Mustard seed
1 tsp
Fresh curry leaves
Medium onions –finely sliced
Whole green chillies – finely chopped
Fresh ginger(1”) – finely chopped 
1 piece
Fresh bread crumbs – generous
1 cup
for deep frying
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the turmeric, a pinch of salt and the cassava. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until soft. Drain the cassava of all but 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and roughly mash together.

In a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook for 1 minute until the seeds begin to pop. Add the onions, remaining turmeric, chillies and ginger. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and caramelized. Add the mashed cassava and stir well to combine.

Using wet hands, shape 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a ball, then flatten slightly. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 12 cutlets. Brush each cutlet with a little water and press into the bread crumbs until evenly coated.

Heat the oil for deep-frying in a large pan or wok until a cube of bread turns golden in 60 seconds. Cook the cutlets, in batches, for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and keep hot while you cook the rest. Serve hot with a fresh coconut chutney.

Description: "Cassava is steamed, mashed and lightly tempered with curry leaves and green chillies; fried in a crumb crust."

NOTE:   Cassava is a regular ingredient of many Keralan dishes. There are bitter and sweet varieties of cassava, both of which should be eaten only when cooked. Use in place of potato; it has the same texture (but looks very similar to a yam). Curry leaves are small, shiny flat leaves with a highly fragrant flavour - a specialist item to be found in Indian shops.