The average Nigerian thinks of Cassava in terms of garri and that’s about the extent. Cassava is a very versatile crop and contrary to popular believes, it’s not only common amongst Africans. Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the world, Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava but sadly Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Costa Rica are the top four exporters of cassava and cassava related products in the world.
Cassava is typically classified into two categories:
“Cassava is classified as sweet or bitter, like other roots and tubers, cassava contains ant nutritional factors and toxins. It must be properly prepared before consumption. Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and may even cause ataxia or partial paralysis. The so-called sweet (actually not bitter) cultivars can produce as little as 20 milligrams of cyanide per kilogram of fresh roots, whereas bitter ones may produce more than 50 times as much (1 g/kg). Processing (soaking, cooking, fermentation, etc.) is necessary to avoid getting sick.”
When Chef Fregz contacted us to do something for June, we thought it will be a great opportunity to spotlight cassava. The more we use our local ingredients, the greater the demand for these products, which eventually translates to jobs in the agriculture sector.
I will be using sweet cassava in the three featured recipes. In most markets in Nigeria, you can get sweet cassava by asking for “boiling cassava”.
The Cassava Salad
This cassava salad is a great starter or work lunch. It’s decadent but not heavy. We are making use of Greek yogurt and light mayonnaise in order to keep the recipe healthy. Feel free to use full sour cream or regular mayonnaise.
Cassava Salad with Crispy Bacon
What you need
2 pounds Cassava–
3 sprigs of Green onion – chopped
Chopped red onion
Half a lemon
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup light mayonnaise (substitute yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise)
4-6 strips of bacon (substitute chicken or turkey bacon) – cooked and chopped
Salt and pepper- To taste
Using a sharp knife, peel off the cassava skin. Cut the cassava in half lengthwise, and remove the fibrous vein running through the center.
Dice cassava into ½ – inch chunks (you should have about 4-5 cups of cassava)
Place the diced cassava in a large pot and add enough water to cover.
Add some salt. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes until cassava is tender.
Drain all the water from the cooked cassava. Allow to cool completely at room temperature (15 to 20 minutes)
Transfer the cooled cassava to a large bowl.
Add the green onions, red onions, lemon juice and bacon. Toss together gently.
Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy.
Ronke Edoho is the creative director of the 9jaFoodie blog. She founded the blog in 2009 and launched the website in 2011. 9jafoodie.com is dedicated to Nigerian food recipes, cooking tips and health/diet tips for Nigerians home and abroad.