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Cassava Cake Coffee

April 18, 2010

I went to see my dentist on the other side of town (when you stuff odd things in your mouth on a regular basis, dental maintenance is a must), and stopped in a grocery store nearby. Not being my usual grocery store, it was full of new culinary wonders. One was a bag simply labeled “frozen cassava.” Having no idea what cassava is, and craving adventure (my life is very exciting), I put it in my cart.

Apparently cassava looks like this:

Hmm. Not something I’d want to put near my tongue, but luckily it came all peeled and chopped up. Some Googling revealed that it’s a potato-like vegetable. Tapioca is made from processing it into flour. I also came across this tidbit:

Konzo is an epidemic paralytic disease. The outbreaks are associated with several weeks of almost exclusive consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava.

How can you resist a vegetable with its own paralytic disease?

As for how to prepare it, a friend on Twitter suggested this recipe for Vietnamese cassava cake. Hopefully making it into a cake would be “sufficient processing” to stave off the konzo.

The cake was … different. The cassava has a unique taste; kind of like potato, but with a bitter aftertaste that I attribute to the konzo-causing cyanide.

I couldn’t eat the whole thing though, so it was time to throw some in coffee.

I can definitely taste the cassava. That bitterness I mentioned seems to be accentuated by the coffee. However, this isn’t terrible. To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the cake, so this was a good excuse to plop some in coffee, take two sips, then toss it down the drain. Yet here I am, halfway through the mug, still drinking.

The caramel taste of the condensed milk is nice here (and would probably be great in coffee on its own). The texture is thicker than coffee, kinda powdery.

It’s getting even thicker as I get to the bottom. I can taste the poison bitterness more and more with each sip.

There’s a slight sludge at the bottom, but not enough to worry about. Bottoms up!

Oh god. Is that a tingling in my extremities?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2010 4:22 pm

    That cassava cake looks damn good! Keep us updated on whether it kills you or not, eh?

  2. Sabrina permalink
    April 18, 2010 5:06 pm

    Try Nutella!

  3. Beatriz Camargo, São Paulo, Brazil permalink
    April 19, 2010 12:16 am

    I believe that ‘cassava’/mandioca is not dangerous, just the leaves and stems can be poisonous. I thin this may depend on the species.

    I’m sorry for the english… =P

  4. Beatriz Camargo, São Paulo, Brazil permalink
    April 19, 2010 12:17 am

    It’s ” ‘I think’ this may depend on the species”.

  5. April 19, 2010 1:50 pm

    You are a silly man!!

  6. April 20, 2010 11:29 pm

    Ham: It killed me.

    Sabrina: That is definitely on the to-do list.

    Beatriz: Your English sounds fine to me. 🙂 Yah I think it can only cause problems if you eat it raw for a few weeks. I should be okay.

    DJ HawaiiianShirt: Everyone else is silly for not trying all these delicious experiments.

  7. April 23, 2010 2:45 pm

    Ha! this is brilliant, I had casava cake in vietnam, hated it, probably as much as I would hate this coffee but some of your creations are fantastic! You do seem to have a lot more creativity than me however, dont think i would take a chance on salad dressing or some of your other ideas.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 15, 2012 9:27 am

      That picture posted as cassava is not a cassava. I’m not sure what it is but it’s not cassava.
      The skin of cassava is slightly textured and brown in colour.

  8. May 4, 2010 6:56 am

    How did I miss this post? Oh well. Glad to see you tried this, and I’m surprised you sort of liked it. How was that konzo-causing cyanide, btw?

    Isn’t Vietnamese coffee traditionally coffee with condensed milk? I could be totally wrong about it being Vietnamese, but I swear I’ve heard of coffee with condensed milk, so it’s a “thing”.

  9. May 6, 2010 3:47 pm

    Yeah it’s a thing in many parts of the world. So it must be good.

    The cyanide killed Phronk. This is Phronk #2.

  10. Xangô permalink
    May 9, 2010 10:15 am

    There are 2 kinds of Cassava – “sweet” and “bitter”. I’ve never seen the “bitter” kind in any shop (in western countries), and while the sweet variant is also poisonous, the amount of toxins is so low that you don’t really need to worry.

    You should wash it (after you grate it) and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible, that removes most of what is harmful, and cooking (heat) takes care of the rest.

    Looks like a good recipie. I usually make “Bolo de Aipim” (Brazilian Cassava cake) with coconut milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, cinnamon & cloves. There are several recipies for it on the net.

  11. March 5, 2011 10:40 pm

    Cassava is also known as yucca and is super common and popular among caribbean and latin american cultures. In Puerto Rico and Cuba it’s more common than potato, and is eaten pretty much daily. It’s delicious when prepared well. Try chopping it into chunks and deep frying it to make yucca fries–really good salted and with a garli aioli or with with a dip of garlic, lime juice, and olive oil. Or you can boil yucca until it’s tender and serve topped with garlic oil and salt. It’s also great boiled into stews. Or you can boil it, mash it, and then mix the mashed yucca with olive oil, pork rind or bacon, and garlic. It’s used in sweet dishes too, but it’s much better as a savory side dish or appetizer.

    • March 5, 2011 10:41 pm

      For some reason my browser corrected my spelling, but it should be “yuca” with just one “c.” The one with two is a plant.

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