Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food and also for starch and Tapioca flour.
It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.
The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.
There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.
Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.
This root should NOT be eaten raw.
Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.
Thailand is the worlds largest importer of dried Cassava.
Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.
It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed it is high in proteins and contains tannins and is valued as a good source of roughage for cattle food.
The cassava root which is going to be used for next seasons crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.
The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.
Other uses for the root are:
To make starch for clothing.
To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.
Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes
It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.
Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.
Now for a recipe:
Khanom man sampalang is cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.
You will need:
2 cups of grated Cassava
6 tbsp of tapioca flour
1 tbsp of mung bean starch
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of shredded coconut.
Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.
Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.
It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam..A thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.The rice has just been planted also and it is fingers crossed that this last down pour didn’t wash all the rice away…Time will tell.
I hope that you enjoyed this trip down on the farm. Some more posts on life in rural Thailand can be found on my Niume posts.
I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm. This weeks post was going to be about our new baby turkeys which we went to collect on Saturday . Unfortunately there was very high winds and very heavy torrentail rains during this last week and the chicks got too cold and died. I was so sad as we were looking forward to getting them and settling them in their new home. The plus side was we got to see the baby calves one which had only just been born which will be our next acquisition. He was so very cute and beautiful.
Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …