Cassava latkes, an idea so simple, so obvious, and yet so left-field, that if it wasn’t for a chance comment from Ramin Ganeshram a year ago on Twitter, I may never have thought of whipping up a batch! I had been on a cassava kick, trying to see how many uses I could find for my favourite provision, besides the tried and true. I had made Vichysoisse Creole, and Cassava porridge, and then, as it was Hanukkah, Ramin asked “Have you ever tried cassava latkes?”
Eureka! I mean why not? Cassava, like potato, is a starchy tuber. It’s a shoo-in! I immediately headed to the kitchen, grated my little heart away and half an hour later was munching on cassava latkes. In some ways I even prefer them to the traditional potato (imagines purists fainting at the very thought). Underneath the slightly sweet crispy exterior they retain that warm, slightly gooey texture that to me signals the best qualities of comfort food. Because cassava has a more neutral flavour than potatoes they respond well to slightly more aggressive seasoning, however if you prefer your latkes on the milder side that’s OK too. Serve them with the traditional sour cream, or if you like to venture to the spicier side of palate town, pair them with tamarind or mango chutney. Veni mangé!
December 9, 2012 Update!: Watch me make my cassava latkes on the debut episode of “Sweet Han’: Caribbean Cooking With Sarina”
Makes 12 latkes
3 cups peeled and grated cassava root (also sold as yuca and manioc)
1/2 cup grated onion
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbl chopped chadon beni/culantro (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1. For crisp latkes you want to press as much liquid out of the grated cassavas and onions as possible. You can do this by pressing them against a strainer or colander with the back of a spoon, or by wrapping them in a clean dish tower (or 2 layers of paper towels) and squeezing vigorously.
2. Transfer the cassava and onion to a large bowl.
3. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and chadon beni (if using).
4. Warm the oil on high heat in a large nonstick skillet.
5. Take 1/2 cup of batter per latke and drop into skillet.
6. Flatten with spatula.
7. Fry on both sides (about 5 min. per side) until brown and crisp.
8. Drain on paper towels.
9. Serve with suggested toppings.
This recipe is an exclusive TriniGourmet original. Please do not share it or post it to your site without crediting TriniGourmet.com and linking back to this site
This year Hanukkah falls from sundown December 8th – December 16th. Many people know this holiday as the Jewish ‘Festival Of Lights’ however it is also often mistakenly thought of as a Jewish equivalent of Christmas causing me to field many a puzzled look when someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah around December 25th only to be made aware that it ended quite some time ago. Although there are times (like this year) when the two festivals do overlap it isn’t a regular occurrence.
Hanukkah cuisine is marked by an abundance of fried foods, all edible testimony to the story behind the festival.
I hope you will enjoy this listing and draw some inspiration from it for your table (or for the table of a friend if you are invited to a celebration)!