I couldn't get enough of this Cassava Bread when it was finished....
Cassava, manioc, (manihot escuelenta or jatropha manihot) has been a staple crop for many years in the Caribbean, especially among the Amerindians. It is still considered a staple crop, much like potato. Therefore, many cassava dishes are similar to potato dishes, provided that the cassava is cooked or prepared properly to remove the toxic compound, cyanogenic glycosides, which is commonly destroyed during cooking or expressing the juices from the cassava.
A few recipes ago, I posted cassava farine, a dried cassava meal which was obtained by finely grating or grounding the pulp, pressing out the juice, and allowing it to dry over a low fire. Today, I have another Amerindian recipe for my readers. It is cassava bread, which is considered to be distinctly part of the Amerindian cuisine, and made from the cassava meal. However, for those who are very accustomed to the somewhat sweet taste of normal bread, will find this cassava bread a bit insipid or lacking flavour.
Cassava Bread Recipe
I was quite surprised to learn a number of things about cassava. It is known that cassava has a high cyanide concentration which can be extracted from its juice which is extremely toxic and could cause the belly to swell. Please don't allow children to taste the raw grated cassava or leave it unattended for children to get a hold of.
Anyway, this recipe is very manual. You will have to strip the rind of the cassava before you grate it. The juice is squeezed out. The Amerindians extract the juice with a "matapee", a long woven strainer, made from reeds. The molded husk looks like round cakes which will then be flattened on around surface (like the tawah). It will then be cooked over fire and sun baked until it is solid and crisp.
In case you were wondering about the juice that is extracted, it is used to make cassareep, a thick brown sauce. Cassareep is the secret ingredient when making Pepperpot, another famed Amerindian dish here on the island. Cassava bread and Pepperpot are the national dishes of Guyana and many Christian Guyanese consider it the ultimate breakfast for Christmas. In Trinidad, cassava bread is not that popular, except among the Amerindian descendents. If you want, you can also buy cassava bread from the Amerindian community in Arima. Or, if you don't have the time to drive all the way to Arima, try the simple cassava bread recipe below.
6 cups cassava flour
2 teaspoon salt
Place the cassava to dry in the hot sun for at least 3 hours.
Note: I used a 9" spring form pan with the bottom removed.
Note: Remember the fire must be very low.
Note: The cassava bread will get dry and hard like crackers.
Well that's it for another monumental post. Now, everyone can make cassava bread like our first peoples of Trinidad and Tobago.
- 6 cups cassava flour
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Peel and grate the cassava.
- Place in a cloth and squeeze out the water.
- Rub between your hands to make fine crumbs.
- Place the cassava to dry in the hot sun for at least 3 hours.
- Add the salt and mix.
- Place the form on the tawa over a low fire.
- Note: I used a 9″ spring form pan with the bottom removed.
- Place 1 cup of the cassava flour in the form and spread thinly.
- Press using the back of a spoon.
- Cook for 5 min on both sides.
- Note: Remember the fire must be very low.
- When finished remove the crumbs from the tawa.
- Place in a bowl then place in the sun until dry and hard.
- Note: The cassava bread will get dry and hard like crackers.
Ah gone 🙂
Shonalee Nedd King
In grenada we call it bang bang
My grandmother used to make this
At TruValue's bakery (at least the Trincity one) I saw that they have a cassava bread that looks identical to coconut bake, which they sell there also. It tastes almost the same too.
I appreciate this sooo much because I have allergies to wheat and bran (gluten). Thanks so much for posting. I'm searching for less expensive substitutes. Will surely try this
I am from the island of st.Kitts and is quite familiar with the recipe, try the patty version, you remember sugar cake grated coconut,sugar,nutmeg,essence and ginger.mix together do not cook,spread on top the first patty cover with another layer of cassava flatten the same way you did the first layer. As a child this one was my favorite Yolande,scott. Ontario Canada.
*ps.my parents loved the plain ones with avacado
Next time I have some Cassava and some time on my hands I will definitely have t try your version 🙂
Virgin Islands Gal
On point, but you forgot to sift the cassava before baking. Sifting will bring it to a fine meal and all the husk(rough) parts will be removed.
I loved cassava bread