I wasn’t a huge fan of cassava growing up and even today it’s a last resort type of ground provision for me (when I can’t source dasheen, yam and/or eddoes). I find it a bit overly bland, so when I do cook it I try to infuse some added flavour with salted cod bits and other ingredients. This recipe I’ll be using frozen cassava that one can get in the frozen food section at most grocery stores. However it works just as well with fresh cassava (providing you know how to peel and cook it). If you’re a vegetarian ( I got a lot of talk the last time I suggested that vegetarians eat fish) you can leave out the pieces of salted cod.
1 package of frozen cassava (about 1 lb)
1 shallot sliced (or onion)
1/2 hot pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/4 green pepper (sweet) – diced
1/4 red, yellow or orange sweet pepper – diced (optional)
about 1/4 cup shredded pieces of salted cod
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
fresh cracked black pepper
* salt for cooking the cassava (see package)
Start by dicing and slicing the peppers, shallot, scallion and garlic. Then using the cooking instructions on the package of the frozen cassava… cook. In my case it called for me to bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then add the cassava, salt and allow to cook until tender (about 20 minutes).
The next step is to soften and remove some of the salt from the salted cod. Do so by placing it (I used boneless salted cod) in a fairly deep bowl and pour some boiling water over it (cover with water) and allow to soak until the water is cool. There are 3 options for buying salted cod, 1. bone in 2. boneless and 3 salted cod bits. The choice is all yours. After the water is cooled, drain and rinse with water and drain again. Then using your fingers or a fork, shred the fish into bits. Squeeze all the water out of it as best as you can.
By now the cassava should be fully cooked, so it’s time to drain the liquid out and set aside. In a saucepan add the oil and butter and heat. Then add the salted cod and cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. After which you’ll add the shallots and garlic. Allow this to cook for a further 3 minutes or so (stir often). Now add the diced peppers and scallions and cook for about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
It’s now time to add the cooked cassava and stir around so everything gets coated with the wonderful flavours of the salted cod, shallots, garlic and peppers. Cook for about 3-5 minutes and you’re done.
Let’s quickly go through the recipe one more time.
1. prepare peppers etc.
2. cook (boil as you would potatoes) the cassava
3. prepare the salted cod (if you get the salted cods bits, it would mean less work for you)
4. cook the salted cod and peppers
5. drain and add the cassava to the pot..cook for a few minutes and you’re done.
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