When it comes to the most important starchy root crop of the tropics, cassava comes second only to the sweet potato and is currently grown in the whole tropical world. The cassava plant serves as a crucial energy source as it‘s rich in carbs, fibre, calories, vitamins, minerals as well as smaller amounts of fats and protein.
Here are the top 10 foods or products derived from cassava tuber, whose botanical name is Manihot esculenta:
Some Common Products Made from Cassava
Garri is among the most popular foods in Nigeria, and indeed in many parts of Africa. It’s a dry meal, which can be kept for a very long period.
Preparing garri is quite technical and involved. Here’s how it’s done:
- Make the cassava paste and pack it into bags
- Allow it to ferment for 2–3 days
- Use blocks of stone or a press for applying pressure on the paste, until no water drips any longer
- The surface of the bag has to remain moist
- Use a sieve for draining the dry paste while getting rid of some of the fibers
- Grill or roast the resulting paste in a pan or on a hot plate
- After roasting it, now sieve the garri to get rid of large pieces that are left, and use a bamboo sieve with different mesh sizes for the sieving, which will produce various qualities of garri
- Store them in a clean container (packet or bag) to be sold
The Cassava Tuber Taken as Food
You could also cook a cassava tuber variety and enjoy the meal with different stews. If you so wish, you can pound the cooked cassava and eat it like the usual pounded yam.
However, note that it’s not all cassava varieties that can be consumed that way as several of them are highly toxic when eaten in that fashion.
Also called akpu in Iboland, fufu is prepared by soaking cassava tuber into the water for a period between 4–5 days to make it soft. After that, remove the chaff manually.
The cassava preparation is done via a similar process as garri.
However, rather than frying, it’s cooked and pounded to yield a pulp of different hardness and taken with Nigerian soups, like the popular Igbo’s egusi soup.
Here, cassava is first processed into amala by cutting it into pieces. Then, you’ll soak it for 2–3 days, after which you’ll dry and grind it into flour.
The flour is now made in a similar process to fufu and eaten with the popular Yoruba’s ewedu soup.
Starch is typically a by-product in the garri process. Other than the fact that it’s useful in other domestic applications, the cassava starch is a favorite meal of the Urhobo people, Delta State, which they eat just like amala and garri.
Cassava leaves are used for making vegetable soup in some parts of Nigeria. But they’ve to be cooked properly to ensure they’re detoxified before eating.
Abacha is made by boiling cassava tuber. After that, the back is peeled off, and the remaining substance is cut into tiny pieces.
Then, it’s soaked in clean water over the night to bring out the starch, after which the slippy deposit gets washed off the actual food. This is then cooked as a local salad (abacha).
The baked version of cassava foods got popular in Nigeria a few years back, and many love it.
Kwem is another meal that’s made from cassava leaves. And it’s common in Cameroun.
This meal is also prepared using cassava leaves and is popular in Tanzania.
Outlined in this post are just a few of the many products derived from cassava tuber.