Cassava

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Cassava

Postby Ratatouille » August 17th, 2018, 9:05 am

A bit specialised I know but wondering if anyone other than M. Google can throw light.

Yesterday I was shopping for exotics in a newly opened store in town for a Caribbean meal I am making tomorrow. Mr R pointed out that they had cassava for sale and remembered loving cassava chips when we lived on Long Island. However alarm bells started ringing and I felt I needed to check it out.

I seem to remember that cassava needs to be cooked as soon as it is dug and, if you have to keep it for a minimum time then it must be kept covered. I came home and checked the text book I used when teaching Bahamas cert. nutrition and my memory had served me correctly - for once! Cassava can in fact be quite poisonous if not properly handed and cooked. So why is it on sale if it is unsafe ? Perhaps science has moved on.
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Re: Cassava

Postby StokeySue » August 17th, 2018, 9:57 am

Hmm... I haven’t used cassava much, and I admit to using frozen when I have partly for convenience, and partly because I can be pretty sure the toxicity has been dealt with

So not a lot of help!
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Re: Cassava

Postby karadekoolaid » August 17th, 2018, 11:48 am

Easy answer.
There are two kinds of Cassava ( also called yuca): the "normal" kind and the poisonous version( known over here as "bitter Yuca"). If it´s being sold in a shop in France, it´s the normal kind. To prove that, you cut the cassava and the flesh will be white - an almost brilliant white. The poisonous version, if I recall, is yellowish. It also has a thicker skin than the edible version.
Fine - you need to peel the vegetable and then boil it for about 40 minutes. It will become soft when boiled. You can then eat it just like it is ( typically we serve it with a BBQ here, smothered with a version of chimichurri ) or you can deep-fry it, which gives it a more interesting texture.on
The indigenous tribes in the Amazon state of Venezuela make a sauce from the bitter yuca, known as "Kumache". The process involves boiling the yuca for about 18 hours, and the end result is a dark brown, almost black liquid similar to soy sauce.
The poison involved is cyanide - curiously, present in several other vegetables, but in minute quantities (mustard and aubergine, for example).
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Re: Cassava

Postby Ratatouille » August 17th, 2018, 12:32 pm

Thanks Clive, I knew you would have an answer and I did know about bitter cassava. However I do remeber that all the locals on Long isalnd used to talk about cassava having to be used fesh - possibly because of taste?

I have never cooked the stuff outside the Bahamas where chips were a real favourite. I tremble to think how long it has taken to get here from where it was grown to a small town in southern France :scared:
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Re: Cassava

Postby Badger's mate » August 17th, 2018, 2:14 pm

I went through a phase of making chicken stews with exotic root veg available from Edmonton Green market. I'd had such things in Colombia, so stocked up on 'ground provisions' as they might say in the Caribbean, usually yam, cassava, eddoes, plantains. It never occurred to me that there might be a problem with the cassava :shock: , of course there wasn't.

Since I moved, my day care centre shut and my auntie died, the only time I go back down there is to visit my optician, infrequently.
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Re: Cassava

Postby karadekoolaid » August 18th, 2018, 11:34 am

Stews ( or "sancochos") are very popular over here - evidently the presence of many, cheap root veg helps to eke out a meal with the addition of a little protein.
It is common to see folks building small fires, surrounded by stones, at the edge of the beach - usually on Sundays. A Fish Stew might contain potato, taro root, yam, cassava, plantain, carrot, onion, corn cobs and any bits and pieces of fish available.Add water and cook for hours.
As for all those wierd root veg - yes, cassava root, yam and taro root are omnipresent. So are two varieties of sweet potato ( white and orange) and a local form of taro root which is much smaller than the Asian version. There´s also an intriguing vegetable called " Apio" - translated as arracacha - which is a mixture of celery, carrot, parsnip and swede, IMHO! Most of these are very starchy.
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Re: Cassava

Postby Zosherooney » August 18th, 2018, 3:10 pm

I love the sound of all those exotic veg. Southall market was very interesting and trying to find out the names of the veg and what to do with them. The language barrier was broken down by getting a young school age kid to translate what Grandma used it for ! She had no English. Things are a little different nowadays.
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Re: Cassava

Postby Ratatouille » August 19th, 2018, 9:36 am

With last night's Caribbean meal we had fried plantain. I chose ripe ones though they did have green with which I would have made chips, something else I love. These were just peeled, cut into rings and fried in a little bacon fat and were lovely.
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Re: Cassava

Postby Seatallan » August 19th, 2018, 11:33 am

I love plantain too. As you say, it fries up beautifully and it's also tasty in stews. :chops:
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Re: Cassava

Postby karadekoolaid » August 19th, 2018, 11:48 am

When the plantains are ripe, they´re good for (a) tajadas (b) baking. Tajadas are simply slices, fried in oil, or butter ( or bacon fat!!). For baking, my wife smothers the whole plantains with a bit of butter and sprinkles them with white cheese, then bakes them for about 20 minutes.
A green plantain is good for tostones or patacones. Like Rats suggested, you can slice the plantain into thin circles and deep-fry to make chips - or tostones. These can be eaten as a snack, or sprinkled with salt and chile powder.
For the patacones, it´s necessary to cut a thick slice of the fruit ( about 3/4"), which is then briefly fried in a skillet. The rounds are removed and then squashed to make a larger "circle". These circles are then fried until browned.
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Re: Cassava

Postby Ratatouille » August 19th, 2018, 1:48 pm

We had to laugh at lunch time when Mr R took me out for lunch to a favourite restaurant. The main course on one of the menus was fish Antilles style with fried bananas (not platain) and glazed sweet potatoes !

Needless to say we chose something else.
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