Colombian Cassava Cake

 Basket of Manioc (Pia in Hawaiian)
I just watched a video of some villagers in Brazil preparing manioc.  Incredible!  What a tremendous amount of work goes into the preparation of tapioca or manioc flour.  You see, I had the, no doubt idiotic, idea to make some of the traditional Colombian/Brazilian, etc. (South American) bread, called Pandebono, or Cheese rolls. From scratch, turning the above, rustic looking, tubers into flour??  After watching said film clip, I don't think so.  We won't be doing that here.  I mean I'm all for using the products of the land, etc. etc., but there's a time and place to farm out certain procedures.  Brake jobs, sewer cleaning, brain surgery...   you get the picture.

Instead, I will be turning the roots into a Colombian Cassava (another of the many names of manioc) Cake, called Enyucado.  I've written about cooking with this starch before, but this will be a completely different approach for me.  In the past, I've only used it as a sort of potato replacement.  This recipe calls for shredded manioc.  I can  will do that. Often choices are involved. The task here is not so daunting.
First step, peeling and covering with water, so they won't turn brown, while they're waiting to be grated.  The recipe is courtesy of the lovely Erica at My Colombian Recipes.  And, since her recipe also calls for shredded cheese and coconut, it looks like I'll be doing a lot of grating today.  For the manioc, my Sumeet Asia Kitchen Machine was used, and a regular box grater for the cheese and coconut.

The grated tapioca covered with water, was left over night, drained and rinsed the next day.  Just to be on the safe side.  As mentioned in a previous post, the raw leaves and roots contain toxins (cyanogenic glucosides), some varieties more than others.  The last photo is of the gratedcoconut.

Here, is a bit of background on the plant, thanks to Buried Mirror, a site stumbled upon whilst looking up the various ways it is prepared.
"A University of Colorado – Boulder team has uncovered an ancient field of manioc at a Maya site in present El Salvador, providing the first substantive evidence of the ancient use of manioc as a food crop in Mesoamerica. Manioc, also known as cassava or yuca, is a member of the spurge family. Its potato-like root is often said to taste like a mixture of potato and coconut. It is extremely starchy and therefore is a good source of calories."

Anyway, now to the recipe for Enyucado, which Erica says is a traditional recipe from the Atlantic coast of Colombia.   The house is smelling so nice.  I just pulled my dish out of the oven.

Cassava Cake or Enyucado
(notice the word yuca in there?)
3 cups shredded yuca or cassava
1 1/2 cups shredded queso fresco (I used 1/2 Oxaca and 1/2 ricotta)
1 cup coconut milk (which I just realized I forgot to include - oops)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon ground star anise (which I thought I had, but discovered missing, so substituted a mixture of cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon)
1 tablespoon melted butter
Mix all the ingredients together and bake at 400F for 45 - 50 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Since I had soaked the shredded tapioca in water, it was probably a good thing the extra liquid was left out.  If doing it again, would probably dry it more before using. And, add the coconut milk in.  It tastes kind of like a coconut macaroon type pudding.

At any rate, Hola!  I'm submitting this effort to the Culinary Tour 2010, South of the Border Challenge for February 15th, which is Colombia.  This event is being presented by the folks at FOODalogue.com.
The Colombian Round-up has now been posted.


Joan Nova said...

The cake looks delicious - all nice and crusty brown. I must admit I agree with you 100% about farming out certain procedures. Happy to make your acquaintance and thanks for contributing to the culinary tour.

Claudia said...

I could farm out a lot more of what I do, but some of it is fun to try - at least once. Thanks for hosting.

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Fantastic effort. I grew up seeing cassava....but have never attempted to make my own tapioca...or anything so fancy. Good going!

Anonymous said...

So glad you did NOT make cheese rolls. We would have had way too many rolls on our journey then (Natasha made them, and me too). Now we've got something for dessert. The recipe of the cake sounds extremely yummy!!!! Btw, I also used a recipe from Erica's website.

loneilteaches said...

In Missouri, we dont have this particular vegetable - or at least not that I have ever seen. When I was looking at recipes and they called for tapioca flour I kept thinking, so do they ground up the tapioca pearls or something. Thank you for giving me a better understanding and the wonderful pictures.

Claudia said...

Hey Ms. Teaches, I'll bet it would grow there. It's sort of like a weed if you give it a bit of ground.