Growing up, mom used to bake for us, but I never showed any interest on learning how to prepare, cut, peel, until I moved to Paraguay in 2003.
There, cassava is part of their diet, and basically you will find a cassava bush in every yard. So, in the Bible College, on my turn to help in the kitchen, we had to wash the root (ya, surprise, Ana, they were soak in mud), peel, cook and then decide what we would do (you can have it deep fried, cooked with butter, cooked with eggs and cheese, etc)... But once I washed, I asked the leader - Ok, now we have to peel and I started peeling in the way I thought it would be right - Cristina laugh at me (a sweet laugh) and showed me the right way to do it. Sometimes the peel would still be hard and we would need to use a bit more power, but it's so simple, and trust me, taste is wonderful.
My husband often tells me it reminds him of a potato, but it's not the same, lol (men, lol)...
Well, to make story short, I found the Cassava at the Real Canadian Superstore and of course, exploded in happiness. Since then, every time I go there, if they are in pretty conditions, I buy it. ;)
So, here is how it works.
Big root, hard when u touch (not soft spots)
They are big and heavy!
Cut it in half (or if it's too big, in big chunks like this)
Notice the skin?
With a sharp knife, put it like this,
slowly slide the knife
and the skin should come out as easy as it can be
sometimes, the skin will be too hard, then you peel the way you think it's easier.
Once the skin is all out, you cut in half, vertically, and
I used my pressure pot, BUT if you don't have one, you bring water to broil, and once is
broiling you add the cassava (otherwise it will be soggy) - let it cook untill is soft to the touch of a
fork (or knife) and the color is yellow. (I'm not sure about how long, I usually don't use a timer when I'm cooking)
here they are already cooked, yellow ;)
drain the water, using a colander, and let it dry a bit (about 5 min)
There is different ways to eat cassava. In Brazil, the most common is deep frying the cassava - however, my mom used to put butter and salt after she cooked, it's very yummy (a bit of salt)
Here, we are gonna deep fry. I don't own a deep fryer, so, I use my steal pot to deep fry. I fill it up a little less then half pot and let it warm. I don't use a thermometer, I usually cut a small piece and put it in the oil, once is hot, it will start frying, but I know it's good when the oil starts making a lot of noises and bubbles, and that small piece "dance" around, lol.. Then I put my cassava pieces and deep fry until they are golden yellow (5-8 minutes)
Once they are ready, take them out and lay them in a bowl with paper towel,
and sprinkle salt. It tastes wonderful, and it's good with a deep sauce, or, with rice and beans, or even on coffee break!
My family loves cassava, and when I lived in Paraguay, I learned that it's very nutritious, it's one of their important meal (cheap) and there is a lot of different ways, and I will try to bring them (the best is cassava with cheese and eggs.. hmmm...)
if there is lots of black spots (1 or 2 still ok) don't eat. It means it won't be
as good and might get sour when you cook.
Have a great day :)