cassava many times in the form of tapioca without realising it. Known also as yucca, manioc, mandioca, kamoting kahoy and mogo Cassava has it's origins in South America and was first domesticated there over 10,000 years ago. Brought to the African continent in the 16th Century by Portuguese traders it is now a major food crop with Nigeria being the world's largest producer, Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam are also major exporters which now far outstrip Brazil and it's other Latin American countries of origin.
Although low in proteins and toxic if eaten raw it is high in starch, thrives on marginal soils and is drought resistant. An area the size of a football pitch will yield 14 tonnes of cassava per year whilst the equivalent yields for rice and wheat are 3.1 and 1.8 tonnes respectively. So it's not difficult to understand why it's been called the bread of the tropics.
Here in London we've often seen it on sale at the market and the Middle Eastern shops which line North End Road but have never tried to cook it before until, that is, we recently came across a delicious version at the famous Regency Club which prompted us to try it at home and post this suggestion.
The Regency Club is a north London institution which defies description. Formerly a private members club located on the green near Queensbury tube station it is now a wonderful Indian gastro pub style restaurant. It's in the heart of North London's Gujarati community and has a unique ambiance and is extremely popular, their version of garlic mogo being an undoubted signature dish - along with chicken wings and tandoori lamb chops. But that is another story, let's go back to mogo!
First cut the cassava into 4 centimetre lengths and peel off the rough brown skin. Cut each piece lengthways into chips, removing any discoloured or stringy fibres which sometimes appear in the older roots and boil in salted water for a few minutes until the chips can be pierced easily with a kitchen knife. (Ghaz says he remembers his mother serving the boiled cassava with curry when he was a kid and it was delicious!!)
Drain and allow to dry on a kitchen cloth. Meanwhile heat vegetable oil to a depth of 5 or 6 cms until slightly smoking or approximately 190 C. Gently place the chips in the hot oil and leave to cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chips begin to turn golden. They should be crisp on the outside with a soft interior. Once you are happy they are ready tip onto a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Sprinkle with your favourite seasonings. We suggest a mix of salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, celery salt paprika and chilli!!
Delicious with ketchup or aioli or dips such as guacamole!
Posted by incredibly fed
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