Arawak Bread

Cassava (also know as Manioc, or Yuca) is a staple of African, South American, and Caribbean cookery. Flour from this starchy root is rich in carbohydrates, calcium, and vitamin C, and can be used to make gluten-free baked goods that are delightful both in terms of their texture and their digestibility.

Cassava flour also makes a quick and chewy Bammy, a Jamaican cassava flour fry-bread that traces its roots back to the fry-bread enjoyed by the Arawaks, the island’s original inhabitants.

For a particularly fancy Bammy consider you might consider cassava flour from:Otto’s Naturals, a non-gmo certified  flour  free of the binders, (such as Xanthan gum), that are sometimes used to bolster the texture of gluten-free flours.

The company also employs its own proprietary pre-baking method to prepare the flour for consumption. Like the traditional sun-drying and fermentation process, pre-baking renders the natural toxins in the root harmless. However, unlike the traditional method it results in a finely-milled, less musty-tasting flour that will delight chefs who are busy making gluten-free replicas of classic wheat-based baked goods. Here’s a quick Bammy recipe that wouild knock the socks off even an Arawak, assuming she was wearing socks.

In a large bowl, mix together:

  • 3 cups of cassava flour,
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder,
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of salt,
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil,
  • 1 tablespoon of Ghee,
  • 1 tablespoon of yogurt
  • Sufficient warm water to form a nice responsive dough.

Divide the dough into four balls, roll them out into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Use your hands to smear some coconut oil or ghee over the bottom of a cast-iron pan or griddle. Get it nice and hot and fry the flat rounds of cassava dough for about two minutes on each side twice. This will create a nicely browned, chewy Bammy that goes wonderfully with spicy soups, curries, etc.