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close this bookBetter Farming Series 16 - Roots and Tubers (FAO - INADES, 1977, 58 p.)
close this folderCassava
close this folderThe use of cassava in food
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFresh cassava and cassava paste
View the documentDried casava and cassava flour
View the documentCooked cassava flours
View the documentStarch and tapioca
View the documentCassava leaves


Many peoples of tropical Africa make cassava their staple food.

Cassava tubers can be eaten whole.

But as a rule they are turned into flour or paste.

The reasons for this are:

- to get rid of the poison;

- to keep the cassava for a long time;

- to get foods with a more pleasant taste.

Fresh cassava and cassava paste

For eating fresh, the sweet varieties are chosen for preference. The poison in cassava is mainly in the peel. Wash the cassava carefully, cut the roots into pieces and steam them.

To make a paste, pound pieces of tuber in a mortar. The pastes are known as foutou, foufou, foufouin or tchokoro.

Dried casava and cassava flour

The fresh roots are peeled, sliced into rounds, and dried in the sun.

Sometimes, instead of being sliced, cassava is grated and then pressed into little balls which are dried.

The balls and the slices can be kept for a long time.

To make flour, the slices or balls are pounded in a mortar, or ground in a mill.

This flour contains all the food elements of cassava. Do not confuse flour with starch.

Cooked cassava flours

Gari and atcheke are much liked in Africa.

To make gari, peel and grate fresh cassava. Then press it in baskets or sacks for three or four days, until it begins to ferment. After rubbing it through a sieve, heat it, dry, in a pot, stirring all the time to prevent sticking. Afterwards, remove impurities with a sieve.

To make atcheke, cassava is prepared as for gari. But the flour is steamed instead of being cooked dry in a pot.

Starch and tapioca

- Starch

After peeling, washing and grating the cassava, the pulp is mixed with water. Then the resulting liquid is strained through a cloth. This is done several times.

The water that passes through the cloth contains the starch. The liquid is allowed to stand for several hours. The water at the top is removed and the starch is left at the bottom of the vessel.

- Tapioca

The damp starch is used to make tapioca. As in making gari, the starch is heated in pots and stirred all the time.

After cooking, it is allowed to get cold, and then the tapioca is sieved to separate the lumps of different sizes.

Cassava leaves

In some places cassava leaves are much liked.

In southern Cameroon cassava leaves are often eaten as a vegetable. They are in fact rich in vitamin C and mineral salts, and contain some protein.