Some recipes are just nostalgic; it rekindles your memories of childhood. Yes this Maracheeni pappadam/Appalam/ /marvalli kizhangu appalam/kolli kizhangu/Kappa/ Cassava/Yucca Pappad is one of that kind. My grandma used to make it lot during the summer. Summer holidays when I visit her, she makes lot of goodies for me. Jackfruit chips, this maracheeni pappadam/ appalam, arisi vathal etc. Pappadam/pappad are thin crispy flat bread usually made by sun drying the dough with lentil flour, jackfruit, yucca and spices. Later deep fried or grilled.
Even though cassava or yucca is native of Brazil, it grows well in India especially in Kerala, southern part of India. It is important part of my hometown cuisine. Boiled cubes of cassava with salt are best combo with fish curry or spicy chutney. We make curries, chips with them. Next in my list will be making chips with them. One which gets from the store lacks the taste I used too.
My grandma and aunt wake up early in the morning, peel yucca / cassava skin, and then cut them into small pieces. And wash several times as there will be soil in the yucca/cassava since it is root tuber. Once washed well then grind them with red chili into a fine paste. Then asafoetida/hing/peruamkayam and salt is added along with more water and made it very loose batter. Then cook the entire batter into thick bottomed vessel with constant stirring for about 10-15 minutes you will get thick custard like paste. About 1/4cup of this paste is dropped into a straw mat made with palm (similar like this) or thick cheese cloth and lightly spread it into round about 5 inch diameter and dried under sun for whole day. Once it is dried well, spray the water on the back side of the cloth or along the side if using straw mat and remove them by peeling. Then dry the entire thing for two –three days under the sun. It is ready for consumption. You can deep fry or microwave them and eat it.
When my grandma makes it my duty is guard the drying paste from those clever wandering crows who like to snatch everything. At that time I thought them as nuisance. However I was not able to locate them even a single one when I visit Mumbai this time. May be they are away from high rise apartment buildings.
I was planning to make this maracheeni papadam for long time, every time when I visit Fiesta store and see Yucca/cassava it will comes into my mind. Finally I decide to try it myself; I can’t find them in any of Indian store. Since I have only a vague idea of my grandma’s recipe my hubby told me try with two or three yucca root that way you will not spending too much energy or time on it. I tried three times to perfect the recipe. First one is good, but I spread it too thin, so it is really hard for me to peel them from the cloth. Next time I added too much water so it overcooked and taste was not good. Finally third time charm, I was able to find out perfect amount of water and how to cook and spread. Yes I got it right.
Usually I buy them and carry with me when I was visiting my hometown Thriuvanthapuram. Now nobody stays there only distant relatives, so going to Thiruvanthapuram while visiting India got least priority. As hubby’s mom and dad and sisters in Mumbai, it becomes port of entry while going to India. My sister‘s family and dad is in Delhi, it is next stop after Mumbai. No choice for me to only to make it for recreating the taste which I got used from childhood.
If you want to taste some crispy flatbread, try this little tedious work, but end result is best. You can also make with yucca flour; however I like the taste of fresh cassava or yucca root to make this dish.
Other recipes using Kappa/Yucca/Cassava Root
Other sun dried fritter recipes
Arisi vathal/Rice fritters