Cassava-based dishes

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A great variety of cassava-based dishes are consumed in the regions where cassava (manioc, Manihot esculenta) is cultivated, and they include many national or ethnic specialities.

As a food ingredient, cassava root is somewhat similar to the potato, to the extent that it is starchy, inedible when raw, and with a bland flavor when cooked. Indeed cassava can replace the potato in many dishes and forms—boiled, mashed, fried, baked. However cassava, unlike the potato, is mostly a tropical crop; and its peculiar characteristics led to some unique recipes, such as sweet puddings, which have no common potato version. In some parts of the world (chiefly in Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines), cassava leaves, too, are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Raw cassava, especially bitter varieties, contain cyanogenic glucosides and may need a combination of boiling, fermenting or sun dried to avoid the possibility of cyanide poisoning.[1][2]

Regional dishes[edit]

Caribbean[edit]

In many Caribbean islands, cassava flour is made into a round shaped flat bread called casabe or "cassava bread".

Cuba[edit]

Cassava is a staple of Cuban cuisine. Besides casabe bread, it is prepared as a side dish — boiled, covered with raw onion rings and sizzling garlic infused olive oil. It is also boiled then cut into strips and fried to make yuca frita (similar to French fries). Yuca is also one of the main ingredients in a traditional Cuban stew called ajiaco, along with potatoes, malanga, boniato (sweet potato), plantain, ñame, corn and other vegetables. Cuban buñuelos, a local variation of a traditional Spanish fritter (similar to the French beignet) is made with cassava and sweet potato instead of flour. These are fried and topped off with anisette-flavored sugar syrup.

Haiti[edit]

Cassava is a popular starch and common staple in Haiti where it is often eaten as part of a meal or by itself occasionally. It is usually eaten in bread form, often with peanut butter spread on the top or with milk. Cassava flour, known as musa or moussa is boiled to create a meal of the same name. Cassava can also be eaten with various stews and soups, such as squash soup (referred to as soup joumou). Cassava flour is also the flour used for a Haitian cookies, called bonbon lamindon, a sweet melt-in-your-mouth cookie. The root vegetable yuca is grated, rinsed well, dried, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter and 12 inch (1 cm) thick.[citation needed]

Dominican Republic[edit]

As an alternative to side-dishes like French fries, arepitas de yuca are consumed, which are deep-fried buttered lumps of shredded cassava. Bollitos, similar to the Colombian ones are also made. Also, a type of empanada called catibía has its dough made out of cassava flour. It is also just peeled and boiled then eaten with olive oil and vinegar and served with other root vegetables like potatoes, ñame, yams, batata (sweet potatoes) and yautía (dasheen). Cassva is also used to make 'chulos', mainly in the Cibao region: grated cassava and other are shaped into a cylindrical form, much like a croquette, and fried. Also it is an important ingredient for sancocho.

Puerto Rico[edit]

The root, in its boiled and peeled form, is present in the typical Puerto Rican stew, the sancocho, together with plantains, potatoes, yautía, among other vegetables (it can also be eaten singly as an alternative to boiled potatoes or plantains). It can be ground and used as a paste (masa) to make a typically Puerto Rican Christmas favorite dish called pasteles. These are somewhat similar to Mexican tamales in appearance, but are made with root vegetables, plantains or yuca, instead of corn. Pasteles are rectangular and have a meat filling in the center, chicken or pork. They are wrapped in a plantain leaf. Guanimes are also smilier to tamales they yuca or plantains mashed with spices, coconut and wrapped in banana leaf these are shape like a log. Masa made from cassava is also used for alcapurrias. These are filled with meat similar to the pasteles but they are fried instead. Yuca in Puerto Rico is also fried, smashed with broth and then stuffed with chicharrón or bacon to make mofongo de yuca. Casabe bread also is a traditional food made from yuca, but no longer very commonly eaten.

Jamaica[edit]

In Jamaica, cassava is traditionally made into bammy, a small fried cassava cake inherited from the native Arawak Indians. The cassava root is grated, rinsed well, dried, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter and 12 inch (1 cm) thick. The cakes are baked until firm and can be stored for a long time if properly done. These can be prepared by dipping in coconut milk, water or regular milk and fried. Bammies are usually served as a starchy side dish with breakfast, with fish dishes or alone as a snack.

The Bahamas & Turks and Caicos Islands[edit]

In The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, cassava is eaten boiled, either alone or with sweet potatoes, cabbage, plantains, and meat. Alternatively, it is cooked in soups with okra or with dumplings.

Trinidad and Tobago[edit]

In Trindad and Tobago and other islands in the eastern and southern Caribbean, cassava is traditionally peeled and boiled and served with flour dumplings and other root vegetables like potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and dasheen. A form of cassava bread is also found in Trinidad and Tobago which derived from the local Amerindian tribe called Cassava Pone.

Bermuda[edit]

Cassava pie is a traditional Christmas dish in Bermuda. The cassava is normally bought frozen, washed through a cotton cloth, squeezed dry then mixed with egg, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. It is either layered in a baking dish in alternate layers with chicken or pork, or cassava alone. It is then baked in the oven for a few hours to kill the toxins. It is eaten as a savoury dish alongside other traditional Christmas fare, such as roast turkey and baked ham. It is often available year-round cooked at most supermarket lunch delis.

Central America[edit]

Belize[edit]

In Belize, cassava is traditionally made into bammy, a small fried cassava cake inherited from the Garifuna. The bile up (or boil up) is considered the cultural dish of the Kriols. It is combination boiled eggs, fish and/or pig tail, with number of ground foods such as cassava, green plantains, yams, sweet Potatoes, and tomato sauce. The cassava root is grated, rinsed well, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter and 12 inch (1 cm) thick. The cakes are lightly fried, then dipped in coconut milk and fried again. Bammies are usually served as a starchy side dish with breakfast, with fish dishes or alone as a snack. Cassava Pone is a traditional Belizean Kriol and pan-West Indian dessert recipe for a classic cassava flour cake sometimes made with coconuts and raisins.

Garifuna[edit]

Among the Garifuna, cassava bread (ereba) is prepared in an ancient and time-consuming process involving a long, snake-like woven basket (ruguma) which strains the cassava of its juice. It is then dried overnight and later sieved through flat rounded baskets (hibise) to form flour that is baked into pancakes on a large iron griddle. Ereba is eaten with fish, hudutu (pounded green and ripe plantains) or alone with gravy (lasusu).

Guatemala[edit]

In Guatemala, cassava can be served as a side dish to a meal, mostly with soups; however, it is not a staple food in Guatemala. There are many typical cassava dishes, such as yuca con chicharrón (fried pig skin and boiled cassava) and platano con yuca (green or ripe plantains mashed together with boiled cassava).

Honduras[edit]

In Honduras, cassava is used in a variety of soups and other dishes. Cassava is one of the main ingredients in Sopa de Caracol (Conch soup). Another typical Honduran dish is Yuca con Chicharrón, which is served with lemon dripped raw cabbage and diced tomatoes, topped with chicharrones (pork rinds).

El Salvador[edit]

In El Salvador, cassava is used in soups, or fried. Yuca frita con chicharrón is deep-fried yuca and served with curtido (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and pork rinds or pepesquitas (fried baby sardines). The cassava is sometimes served boiled instead of fried. Cassava is also used in nuegados (a fried or baked patty made of grated cassava and served with sugar cane syrup).

Costa Rica[edit]

In Costa Rica, cassava is widely used, both boiled in soups or fried and served with fried pieces of pork and lime. This is sold as a snack in most places you travel. When travelling by bus, the bus is often boarded by a local trying to sell "sandwich bagged" snacks of yuca, pork and lime. Two main sources of food for locals in rural areas, living off resources within their own land, are yuca and plantain.

Panama[edit]

In Panama, cassava is sometimes used to make carimanolas. The boiled cassava is mashed into a dough and then filled with spiced meat. The meat-filled dumplings are deep fried to a golden brown. It is also used in brothy soups together with chicken, potatoes, and other vegetables.

Nicaragua[edit]

In Nicaragua, cassava is used in soups and in the Nicaraguan typical dish vigoron, which basically consists of boiled cassava, chicharron, and cabbage salad. Cassava is also used to make buñuelos and is one of the main ingredients in the national dish vaho.

South America[edit]

Argentina[edit]

In Argentina the mandioca is very popular in the northern provinces of Corrientes, Misiones and Formosa, where it is typically eaten boiled and fried.

Bolivia[edit]

Cassava is very popular in Bolivia and consumed in a variety of dishes. It is common, after boiling it, to fry it with oil and eat it with a special hot sauce known as llajwa or along with cheese and choclo (dried corn).

In warm and rural areas, cassava is used as a substitute of bread in everyday meals. The capacity of cassava to be stored for a long time makes it suitable as an ideal and cheap reserve of nutrients. Recently, more restaurants, hotels and common people are including cassava into their original recipes and everyday meals as a substitute for potato and bread.

Brazil[edit]

Cassava is heavily featured in the Brazilian cuisine. In the guise of farofa (lightly roasted flour), cassava combines with rice and beans to make the basic meal of many Brazilians. Farofa is also a frequent side dish to many Brazilian foods including the national dish feijoada, a salted-pork and black-beans stew. The dish vaca atolada ("mud-stranded cow") is a meat and cassava stew, cooked until the root has turned into a paste. Pirão is a thick gravy-like gruel prepared by cooking fish bits (such as heads and bones) with cassava flour. Boiled cassava is also made into a popular sweet pudding or "cassava cake". After boiling, cassava may also be deep-fried to form a snack or side dish.

Colombia[edit]

In the northern coast region of Colombia, cassava is used mainly in the preparation of sancocho and other soups. The pandebono bread, made of cassava dough, is a specialty of the Valle del Cauca State.

In the coastal region, cassava is known especially in the form of bollo de yuca and enyucados:

  • Bollo de yuca is a dough made of ground yuca that is wrapped in aluminum foil and then boiled, and is served with butter and cheese.
  • Enyucado is a dessert made of ground boiled yuca, anise, sugar, and sometimes guava jam.

In the caribbean region of Colombia, cassava is also eaten roasted, fried or boiled with soft homemade cheese or cream cheese and mainly as a garnish of fish dishes.

Suriname[edit]

In Suriname, cassava is widely used by the Creole, Indian, Javanese and indigenous population. Telo is a popular dish which is salted fish and cassava, where the cassava is steamed and deepfried. Other dishes with cassava include soups, dosi and many others.

Ecuador[edit]

In Ecuador, cassava is included in a number of dishes. In the highlands, it is found boiled in soups and stews, as a side in place of potatoes, and it is processed into laminar fried chips called yuquitos which are a substitute for potato chips.

Ecuadorians also make bread from cassava flour and mashed cassava root, including the extremely popular bolitos de yuca or yuquitas which range from balls of dough formed around a heart of fresh cheese and deep-fried (found primarily in the north), to the simpler variety typical to Colombia which are merely baked balls of dough. Cassava flour is sold in most markets.

In the Amazon Basin, cassava is a main ingredient in chicha, a traditional fermented drink produced by the indigenous Quichua population often made by chewing up and spitting out the raw cassava which is subsequently fermented for a few hours to a couple of days.[3]

Cassava leaves, steamed, are part of the staple diet of the indigenous population in all areas where it is grown.

Paraguay[edit]

Cassava is a staple dish of Paraguay. It grows extremely well in the soil conditions throughout the country, and it is eaten at practically every meal. It is generally boiled and served as a side dish. It is also ground into a flour and used to make chipa, a name for bread kneaded with cassava.

Peru[edit]

Cassava is also popular in Peru where it is used both boiled and fried. Boiled cassava is usually served as a side dish or in soup, while fried it is usually served together with onions and peppers as an aperitif or accompanying chicha.

Venezuela[edit]

Cassava is an essential ingredient in Venezuelan food, and can be found stewed, roasted or fried as side dish, sometimes with cheese, butter, or margarine. As in the Dominican Republic, cassava bread (casabe) is also a popular complement in traditional meals, such as the arepas. Venezuelan casabe is made by roasting ground cassava spread out as meter wide pancake over a hot surface (plancha) or any flattop grill. The result has the consistency of a cracker, and is broken into small pieces for consumption. There is also a sweet variety, called naiboa, made as a sandwich of two casabe pancakes with a spread of papelón in between. Naiboa also has a softer consistency.

Africa[edit]

Woman pounding the cassava root into fufu in the Central African Republic.

In West Africa, particularly in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, cassava is commonly prepared as eba or garri. The cassava is grated, pressed, fermented and fried then mixed with boiling water to form a thick paste. In West Africa the cassava root is pounded, mixed with boiling water to form a thick paste and cooked like eba.

In Ghana, cassava is the most favoured among all root crops and even all food crops by Ghanaian consumers.

In Central Africa, cassava is traditionally processed by boiling and mashing. The resulting mush can be mixed with spices and then cooked further or stored. A popular snack is made by marinating cassava in salted water for a few days and then grilling it in small portions.

Though the methods of cooking cassava vary from region to region, the main method is simply frying it. The skin of the root is removed and the remains are sectioned into small bite-size chunks that can then be soaked in water to aid in frying. Thereafter, the chunks are fried and then served, sometimes with a chili-salt mixture. This fried cassava is a very common street food as it is relatively cheap to buy, easy to prepare and good to eat. The same applies to another very common roadside method where the cassava is lightly boiled and cut into straight pieces about 8–10 inches (20–25 cm) long. These pieces are then roasted over charcoal grills, served hot by splitting through the middle and applying the chili-salt mixture.

Cassava flour can also be made into a staple food with a consistency like polenta or mashed potatoes. The Swahili name for it is ugali while the Kikuyu name for it is 'mwanga'. It's also called fufu in Lingala and luku in Kikongo.

Residents in the Sub-Saharan nation of the Central African Republic have developed multiple, unique ways of utilizing the abundant cassava plant. In addition to the methods described above, local residents fry thin slices of the cassava root, resulting in a crunchy snack similar in look and taste to potato chips.

In the provinces of Bandundu and Bas-Congo, in Western Democratic Republic of the Congo manioc root is pounded into a paste, fermented and cooked in banana or other forest leaves. The resulting hard packets make for good travel food due to their long shelf-life. This form of manioc is called kwanga in Kikongo and Lingala.

The root can be pounded into flour and made into bread or cookies. Many recipes have been documented and tested with groups of women in Mozambique and Zambia.[4] This flour can also be mixed with precise amounts of salt and water to create a heavy liquid used as white paint in construction.

The cassava leaf is also soaked and boiled for extended periods of time to remove toxins and then eaten. Known as gozo in Sango, sakasaka in Kikongo, sombe in Swahili and mpondu in Lingala, the taste is similar to spinach.

Asia[edit]

India[edit]

Boiled cassava served with fish and chutney

In the state of Kerala, India, cassava is a secondary staple food. Boiled cassava is normally eaten with fish curry (kappayum meenum in Malayalam which literally means casava with fish) or meat, and is a traditional favorite of many Keralites. Kappa biriyani—cassava mixed with meat is a popular dish in central Kerala. In Tamil Nadu it is called Maravalli Kizhangu. The household name for processed cassava in Andhra Pradesh is saggu biyyam. Cassava is also deep fried in oil to make tasty homemade crisps, then sprinkled with flaked chillies or chilli powder and salt for taste. It is known as Mara Genasu in Kannada.

Cassava pearls (sabudaana साबु दाणा) are made from cassava-root starch, and are used for making sweet milk pudding in many parts of India. In western India, cassava pearls are used to make a salted and lightly spiced khichadi, or deep-fried patties known as vada. These are considered pure foods by Hindus in Maharashtra which can be eaten during fasts, when other foods cannot be partaken.

Indonesia[edit]

Fried cassava in Indonesia

Cassava is widely eaten in Indonesia, and used as a staple food during hard times but has lower status than rice. It is boiled or fried (after steaming), baked under hot coals, or added to kolak dessert. It is also fermented to make peuyeum and tape, a sweet paste which can be mixed with sugar and made into a drink, the alcoholic (and green) es tape. It is available as an alternative to potato crisps. Gaplek, a dried form of cassava, is an important source of calories in the off-season in the limestone hills of southern Java. Their young leaves also eaten, cooked in different ways in different regional cuisines, e.g. as gulai daun singkong (cassava leaves in coconut milk), boiled and served dry in Padang cuisine, boiled with spices in Javanese cuisine,[citation needed] as urap (Javanese salad), and as the main ingredient in buntil (Javanese vegetable rolls).

Malaysia[edit]

In Malaysia, cassava was a staple food during the Japanese occupation in World War II. Often cassava was boiled and served with sambal tumis. In Malaysia, cassava is also processed into kerepek ubi, in which the cassava is sliced thinly and then deep-fried. Cassava is also used to make tapai. Young cassava leaves can also be cooked with coconut milk to make masak lemak pucuk ubi.

Philippines[edit]

Cassava cake (Philippines).

Cassava is mainly prepared as a dessert. Traditional methods of preparation include steaming, mashing, grating, boiling, and frying. It is made into bibingka, suman, pudding, chips, cassava cake, cassava balls, pancakes, or coated with caramelized sugar.

The leaves are also cooked and eaten.

Sri Lanka[edit]

Though cassava is not widely cultivated in Sri Lanka, tapioca, called manioc, is used as a supplementary food. Some Sri Lankans take it as breakfast. Often the root is taken fresh, cleaned and boiled in an open pot. Some preparations add saffron to make it little yellowish in color. Manioc is often eaten with scraped coconut. Another popular preparation adds katta sambol (red hot chili mix) with boiled tapioca.

Manioc curry is a side dish often served with rice, a Sri Lankan staple food. There is a belief among Sri Lankans that one should not take manioc together with ginger which will cause food poisoning. Leaves of the plant are also prepared as side dish and called malluma. Dried, powdered, and starched tapioca are widely used in Sri Lanka.[citation needed]

Vietnam[edit]

Cassava is planted almost everywhere in Vietnam and its root is amongst the cheapest sources of food there. The fresh roots are sliced into thin pieces and then dried in the sun. Tapioca is the most valuable product from processed cassava roots there.

Oceania[edit]

Cassava was imported to Polynesia during the 19th century. The typical mode of preparation by Samoans and Tongans is steam-baking in underground ovens, although boiling in water or baking in coconut cream is also common. Polynesians have also adapted cassava into traditional desserts such as faikakai (Tonga) and fa'ausi (Samoa) which are prepared by steaming or baking finely grated (or mashed) cassava with coconut cream, brown sugar, and/or fruit juice.

See also[edit]

References[edit]