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The many moods of cassava

Tie-A-Leaf (Duckunoo). - Contributed

Tuesday October 16 is World Food Day and we have chosen to highlight cassava and its many uses

CASSAVA IS one of the most important food crops of the Tropics where its global production exceeds a hundred million tones. The word Cassava comes from 'Casabi', the name given by the Arawak Indians to the root. It is known as "Yuca" in Spanish, "Manioc" in French, "Mandioc" in Portuguese, 'Cassave" in Dutch and "Maniok" in German.

Cassava is the world's fourth most important staple after rice, wheat and maize, and is an important component in the diets of over one billion people.

The majority of the total world production of cassava is processed for direct food consumption in Africa and South America. Cassava is also processed for industrial applications; such applications include animal feeds, alcohol, starch, and food products such as tapioca and instant mixes.

A great variety of techniques for preparing food and drink from the cassava plant have been developed. Moist cassava pulp is an intermediary product made from the roots. The process involves several unit operations starting with peeling, washing and grating the roots. The grated cassava is then squeezed to extract water and toxic substances to a final level of water content of between 45 - 50 per cent. It is then sieved to separate the course particles, and the moist pulp, which has been obtained, is set aside for immediate use.

Moist cassava pulp is used in different ways to produce a variety of products. The young sweet cassava leaves are also suitable for human consumption. The roots are important sources of carbohydrates while the leaves are a source of protein and minerals.

Some of the key characteristics of the crop are its efficiency in producing carbohydrates, its tolerance to drought and impoverished soil, and its high flexibility with respect to the timing of planting and harvesting. For these reasons, cassava plays an essential role in the issue of food security, especially in those regions prone to drought and with poor soil.

It should be noted that cassava must be used quickly after harvesting (within 24 hours) as the roots deteriorate rapidly once harvested.

Cassava Pancake


1 cup Cassava Pancake mix

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp. cooking oil

2/3 cup water


1. Combine all the ingredients together to form smooth dough.

2. Pour mixture into greased frying pan.

3. Cook on one side on a low flame until set.

4. Turn and cook on other side until golden brown.

5. Serve with syrup of your choice or with breakfast meat.

Candied Sweet Cassava


2 cups sweet cassava

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tbsp. lime juice


1. In a heavy saucepan, heat butter and brown sugar. Add cassava and turn until brown on both sides.

2. Add orange and lime juice mixture, cover tightly, reduce heat and cook until tender and delicately browned. Serves 4.

Cassava Dumplings


1/2 cup wheat flour

1 tbsp. margarine

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup grated sweet cassava


1. Add salt to flour and
blend in margarine with
fork or fingertips.

2. Add cassava and mix to smooth dough; do not knead.

3. Shape into tiny dumplings and cook in salted boiling water for 15 - 20 minutes.

4. Serve with your choice of meat.

Cassava Fritters


1/2 lb. salted codfish

2 tsp. baking powder

1 stalk escallion

2 tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup water


1. Wash fish, soak and remove bones then flake.

2. Put flour into container, add all ingredients and mix well.

3. Spoon teaspoonfuls of the batter into skillet with hot oil.

4. When golden brown, remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Serve warm.

Cassava Pone


1 lb. cassava flour

1 coconut

1 lb. sugar

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 lb. wheat flour

1 lb. yellow yam

1/2 lb. margarine, melted

1 tsp. vanilla essence



1. Sift together cassava and wheat flour and set aside.

2. Grate coconut and yam.

3. Mix all ingredients together adding enough water to make a pouring batter.

4. Pour into greased baking pan and bake at 175ºC (350ºF) or until done.

Tie-A-Leaf (Duckunoo)

(Have ready large pot of boiling water and quailed banana leaves, green corn husk or aluminium foil cut into 20 cm (9") squares, for parcelling batter)


2 cups cassava flour

1/2 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup raisin

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups coconut "milk"

1 tsp. mixed spice


1. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.

2. Pour one cup or less onto quailed banana leaves, corn husk or foil.

3. Make a parcel and tie with twine or dried banana bark.

4. Place parcels in boiling water (enough to cover them) and cook for about 1 hour.

5. Slice and serve hot or cold.

Cassava Pudding


2 lb. sweet cassava

1 1/2 cups wheat flour

1 cup raisins

1 tsp. mixed spice

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup wine

2 cups sugar

2 cups coconut milk

2 tsps. vanilla

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. margarine, melted

1 tbsp. rum (optional)


1. Mix together flours, baking powder and spice in a bowl.

2. Heat molasses and combine with sugar, milk, beaten egg, margarine and vanilla.

3. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring lightly.

4. Pour into greased 2 lb. loaf pan and bake in 175ºC (350ºF) oven for 40 minutes or until done.

5. Remove from oven. Brush with syrup, if desired, and leave for a day before eating.

Note: Molasses can be omitted. If omitted you could use browning to enhance the colour.

Cassava Salad


1 lb. sweet cassava,

cooked and cubed

1 onion, diced

1/2 green sweet pepper,


1/2 red sweet pepper, slivered

1/2 yellow sweet pepper,


6 tbsps. salad oil

6 tbsps. sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 tsp. mustard powder

Dash pepper

1 clove garlic, crushed


In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Chill and serve, removing garlic before serving.

Cassava and Beef Casserole


1 lb. ground beef

4 cups mashed boiled

sweet cassava

4 tbsps. margarine

2 tbsps. onion, chopped

1 tbsp. green pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, grated

2 tsps. salt

1 tsp. black or country pepper

1/2 tsp. thyme leaves,

chopped (optional)

1/2 cup milk


1. Mash boiled sweet cassava while hot.

2. Add 2 tablespoons margarine to mashed cassava.

3. Lightly fry chopped onions, green pepper and other seasoning in remaining margarine or cooking oil.

4. Add ground beef to lightly cooked seasoning mix well.

5. Add salt to taste, also 1/2 cup water and cook covered over medium heat until beef is tender.

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