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The Anatomy of Cassava

by on April 21, 2015

I’ve eaten cassava products all my life but I’d never tasted the cooked/ boiled tuber till last weekend. It is an interesting combination of starchy and chewy and a taste that isn’t as distinctive as I expected. 

What it looks like

Think long tubers, about 20 – 30cm with tough brown skins bearing some resemblance to yams but for the  pointed carrot-like tips.

How to select

Select tubers that are brown all over, without many scaly patches.


 The photo above shows a fresh tuber. That below? Not-so-fresh tubers. See how the protective skin on the tubers has come off?

Cassava & Suya Stirfry

Peeling & Preparation

Peel as you would any other tuber with a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. I went with veggie peeler.

Raw cassava is not safe for consumption because it has cyanide in raw form. It must be cooked for all preparations.

Cassava & Suya Stirfry

Most of the tubers in this batch had purple streaks running through them – past their prime :(. Fresh cassava tubers should be white when you slice through.

The interesting thing for me was the discovery of a thick cord running through the centre. 

Cassava & Suya Stirfry

 You can remove it before or after cooking.

To cook, slice or cut into chunks or chips.

Cassava & Suya Stirfry

How to cook

There are a multitude of ways to cook cassava but I opted for boiled. I wanted to understand the texture. 

It took about forty minutes to get the cassava chunks soft. 

The texture and flavour remind me very much of starchier, chewier ‘not-as-sweet’ sweet potatoes.

Cassava & Suya Stirfry


Soon, I’ll share what I made with my boiled cassava.

Stay well and read Food52.com’s piece on cassava for more.

How do you cook and eat your fresh cassava?[wpurp-searchable-recipe]The Anatomy of Cassava – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]