by Jacob Betmou
Cassava is a tuber plant that is currently feeding 800 million people in over 105 countries worldwide. The current global production is about 250 million tons per year and this figure could reach 475 million tons in 2050. In developing countries it is ranked on place 4 in the food crop production after rice, wheat and maize – a main reason is, that it is quite easy to get a good return because it can adapt to any type of soil and to any type of climate. Nevertheless, world cassava production tends to stagnate after 15 years of uninterrupted growth.
Not so in Cameroon: In the past cassava did suffer from a lack of interest, but in recent years it became the most important food plant with an annual production of over 2.8 million tons and a cultivated area of 250,000 ha. Its success – especially in urban areas – is due to the simple and rapid use of its products. It is also the primary source of carbohydrates throughout the south of the country and a diverse range of recipes are used in the daily life of Cameroonians. Cassava markets thus prove to be very important for the social and economic life in Cameroon. It is particularly important – not only in Cameroon – but in Africa as a whole, where it is the main plant for food production and the staple food for the rural – especially for the poor – population. The tuber use it to minimize the risk of starvation and to create income. It is composed of 68.5 % water, 26.9 g carbohydrates, 3.1 g protein, 0.4 g fat and 0.1 g fibers. It is rich in vitamin B and C as well as in magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium.
The recipes of Cameroon are rich in flavor and very diverse. The original combinations of spices and ingredients are producing results both unexpected and wonderful, and are suitable for the most delicate palates. Once prepared, we find that cassava can be consumed with vegetables, meat, fish, avocados, cereals, pistachios, okra and peanuts – it shows that cassava is actually the staple food for a huge part of the population in Cameroon and can be prepared in various ways – that is why we take a huge interest in this tuber plant. Also private companies put an eye on cassaca, especially to produce cassava starch and use it for enzymatic hydrolysis and production of beers. But in the following part, I describe some recipes that can be cooked easily and can be found in the traditional food culture of Cameroon!
- Peel the cassava and wash it carefully
- Put it in a steamer or in a saucepan lid
- Add a little bit of water
- Let it cook for 20-30 minutes (in between check with a fork if the cassava is already soft)
- Consume with tomato or peanut sauce, with fried eggs or anything that you like
To prepare a cassava stick, you crush the cassava and add a little bit of water until it becomes a paste. This paste is then wrapped in plant leaves and is cooked in hot water for approximately 15 minutes. It is mainly produced in regions such as East Cameroon and Littoral, but you also find it in the Western and Southern parts of Cameroon.
- Dip cassava tubers in a pot or kettle for 2 to 3 days
- Move them afterwards and dry them on a tarp or bag while the ransacking (wait until they are dried properly!)
- Crush on a mill
- Heat a pot of water
- Pour in as a measure of crushed cassava
- Stir it with the help of the pestle as a measure
- Enjoy it with peanut sauce, pistachio, okra or eru
… is also called the savior in Cameroon!
- Put it on a plate
- Pour a little water to get rid of small roots that sometimes can be found in the chrushed cassava
- Add a little sugar to your sufficiency
- Boil water in a pan
- Pour the tapioca
- Gradually stir it until the tapioca becomes soft
- Enjoy it with the sauce of your choice
The Beans Tapioca
- Soak beans in water
- Cook them
- Make your soft tapioca by putting some cold water as was done in the first step
- Fry the beans with ingredients of your choice
- Pour the tapioca as a measure stiring
- Stir after each 2 or 3 minutes for 15 to 20 minutes