Cazabes (Casabes) - Yucca tortillas?
Has anyone tried these? If so, how do they taste and what do you eat them with and how?
They seem to be in many sizes, some as large as a hula hoop. This article about Wal-Mart distributing them in their stores from small cooperative businesses, has a great photo of a woman making one in a traditional way ... or I'm guessing traditional ... looks authentic to me. I think the stove the cazabe is cooked on is called a budare ... but I'm not certain.
They also mention a company called O’big Mama already exports 1,200 pounds of casabas to ethnic communities in NY, though not through Wal-Mart.
So I'm figuring that given they are available in NYC someone here must have tried them ... or someone who traveled to Central or South America.
This chef has a nice article about cazabes in the Amazon with photos (it is in Spanish)
She writes fhe people in that region make "a gourmet food made of mysteries and cassava....The Cazabe is a thin cake made from a tuber called Bitter Cassava (Jatropha Manihot), which is grated and processed before being placed on a hot plate. The Cazabe served as a side dish in Indian meals. The process is interesting and full of wisdom"
I guess the wisdom is that raw casava is poisonous and they know how to process it so that the 'evil casaba loses its temper' and is edible. After being " flattened on a Budare (circular plate over 1 meter in diameter.) it is cooked until lightly browned. After cooking (and a rest) this great full moon takes on a crisp and crunchy texture and sweet flavor." Sometimes there's a romance in the way words are translated.
Supposedly they perk right up and reheat well which is probably why there is a market for imported cazabes. Full of fiber too and good for you.
She also has a recipe that adapts the cazabe to contemporary usage, making mini cazabes as a base for an appetizer topped with sauteed mushrooms, garlic and red, green and orange sweet peppers. Sprinkle with cilantro and add a dash of catara or other hot sauce. You might want to use an alternate hot sauce as catara is made from the tails of a large Amazonian ant called Bachaco (in Venezuela ) or big ass ant (in Colombia ) . The second wiki link in Spanish is more comprehensive and mentions catara "
Article from the Discovery Channel "Crunchy, Big-Butt Ants Entice Gourmands" A new meaning to the song "I like big butts" Harrods sells the ants dipped in chocolate.
Anyway, who has tried cazabes?
I've had these for quite a while now. You don't know what CRUNCHY is until you've tried cassava bread (Casabe). I like eating them plain for the "crunch" factor, and I like adding them into soups to achieve the "mush" factor. If you add them to your clear soups, they will absorb all the liquid and what's left is a nice moist cassava mash akin to say a dish of farina.
Have a look at my reply in this thread and you can see how the Casabe is made in Guyana.
Most of the Cassava Bread I purchase is made in the Dominican Republic, but I'm sure the cooking technique is comparable --> http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/688224