Over here, it is available already pre-cut, cleaned, and frozen in some of the ethnic stores. One of my friends buys them that way because she says she can't be bothered to clean them. But they cost twice as much. But, some ethnic stores also sell the tubers, themselves. They come coated in wax to help preserve them, as the outer skin is paper thin. My mother always told me to choose tubers that were undamaged and whole, as exposure to air causes the inside to spoil.
The first thing I did was cut off the top and the bottom and cut the tuber crosswise into pieces. I cut this particular manioc into four pieces:
|Cut Pieces of Manioc|
The next thing to do is remove the outer peel. The brown outermost peel is paper thin (although it looks a bit thicker in the picture below because of the wax coating). Just inside this brown paper thin layer is a pinky layer, which is poisonous (contains cyanide), and must be removed completely prior to cooking and eating! Fortunately, it is very easy to remove it - I just cut down into the tuber and pry the layer off with my knife. It comes off without any trouble. If any of it remains, it can easily be cut off.
|Piece of Manioc Showing Outer Papery Skin and Pink, Poisonous Layer Beneath|
Below are two pieces of the completely peeled manioc:
These are the peels I removed. As I mentioned, the whole thing comes off in one layer:
|The Peels with the Poisonous Layer Attached|
Once peeled, I cut each piece in half to reduce the boiling time and washed them well in a couple of rinses of water. Then, I put them to boil with enough water to cover them and added some salt and a little turmeric powder (didn't measure how much). I don't really know the significance of the turmeric powder, but this is how we've always cooked them!
|Manioc Being Boiled in Salted Water with Turmeric|
I let it boil for about 15 minutes; the manioc is done when they can be pricked easily with a fork. If there is extra water remaining after they are boiled, the water can be drained off. In this particular instance, all the water got absorbed.
I plated half of the cooked manioc and ate it with a different kind of onion sambol, known as "katta sambol" - it is made with onions ground together with chili powder, salt, lime juice, and flakes of a dried fish known as Maldive fish. It can be eaten with grated coconut, too.
|Boiled Manioc and Katta Sambol|
I think I could have added a little less turmeric! It's supposed to be a light yellow, in color; mine turned out almost orange! But that's OK. Turmeric is supposed to be good for you! I packed the rest of the manioc into a container to take to the office for breakfast, tomorrow.
Don't you wonder how people first figured out that removing the outer layer makes it safe to eat something like manioc? Have you had manioc/cassava/yuca, other than as tapioca? Is it something you might be willing to try?