Cassava is considered an “amuse-gueule” (appetizer) in Haiti.
It’s one of those things that are very popular!
I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it being served in restaurants.
However, 3 out of 5 homes (including Haitian homes abroad) will have cassava in their cupboard.
You’ll always find a Haitian family member nibbling on some cassava. Just having fun with it!
It’s always fun to eat.
What is it exactly?
Cassava is made out of YUCA. It’s actually grated yuca and is considered a flat bread.
It’s a heritage of the Tainos (Arawak) as it was a staple of their diet.
The Tainos lived in Puerto-Rico, Jamaica, Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic)
- Yuca Root (choose one that is firm and has no soft spot)
- Coconut flakes (optional)*
- Salt (to taste)
- Clean and peel the yuca root (make sure to cut off the tapered ends and the woody core)
- Finely grate the yuca
- Use a cheesecloth / cotton towel to squeeze out the moisture of the grated yuca.
Be careful not to remove too much moisture as it will make your cassava a little brittle, making it hard to form a smooth-edged-disk. ( I actually encountered this problem and fixed it by adding a bit of water to my hands)
- Season with salt
- *Optional step– I formed little balls and then flattened them out with my spatula
However, normally, the grated yuca is just placed on the pan and flattened out. Edges are shaped using the spatula to gather the ends closer together.
- Heat a frying pan (no oil) and place the yuca in the pan starting from the center.
- Squeeze it out flat with a spatula or a wooden spoon.
- Flip once the bottom is brown
- Let it cool for a while until it hardens.
*If you’re using coconut, Just create a thin first layer of grated yuca in your pan. Add the coconut (with sugar if wanted) and then cover it (like a sandwich) with another thin layer of grated yuca. Then flip after a few minutes.
It is enjoyed with peanut butter ( I will soon post a recipe for Haitian peanut butter), avocado.
Or (if prepared in a smaller size) can be used as a chip for dips!
There are so many other ways of enjoying it depending on the culture.
Haitian Cassava usually has a nutty taste to it.
Enjoy! And share your experience.