Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Three-Ingredient Cassava Cake...

A delicious cake, pudding or sweet treat is impossible to resist anywhere but particularly in Asia. Asian desserts are regularly served as snacks in between meals rather than after a heavy meal (when there is no room for it anyway-- how clever!) I find they are starting to appear more often in Asian restaurants but there is still tremendous room for getting popularized outside of Asia. When it comes to the home-front, many think that Asian desserts are difficult or complex to prepare but really, most recipes are quite simple. The trick is to find the right ingredients, understand how they are used, and then master a few easy techniques. However,..... in the case of this particular version for Southeast Asia's favourite sweet-- cassava cake, there is nothing to master except finding grated cassava (frozen), dumping, stirring and baking. This easy peasy three-ingredient recipe (what?) was given to me during my past weekend trip to Montreal. Honestly, never cared for cassava cake maybe because I am partial to coconut milk while my hubby and best friend goes ga ga over it, but after trying it and simply making it at home, I really like it and can see myself making it over and over again.

Cassava is a root tuber native to South America, and is now an important crop throughout Asia and the Pacific. It must be cooked to destroy the hydrocyanic acid it contains. The young roots are peeled and grated to make various cakes and savouries. If you know tapioca or pearl sago-- the small dried white balls sold in supermarkets or appearing in many Asian soup desserts such as sweet tapioca coconut milk dessert, you may be surprised that they are actually made from the starch of the cassava (tapioca) plant.

Three-Ingredient Cassava Cake
Makes two 9" pie plates

2 packages (454 g) frozen grated cassava, thawed overnight (find in frozen aisle in an Asian supermarket)
1 can (300 mL) condensed milk
1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
2 9" foil pie plates

Place the thawed grated cassava in a large bowl or basin. Run water through it and rinse with your hands several times. Pick out any specks such as leave particulates. Let drain in a colander for several hours-- try to strain as much of the excess water as possible. Pour both milks in a large bowl, and stir to blend; add the grated cassava and stir to incorporate well.

Pour into two lightly greased foil plates (I spray with cooking oil). Bake on the middle rack in a preheated 325 F oven  for 50 to 60 minutes until golden brown. Remove onto a rack to cool slightly. 

Perfectly coconutty, balanced sweetness with the texture sticky creamy and not dense. I love the slightly caramelized chewy rim! Keep one for yourself and bring the other to share with your family and friends. My parents, siblings and one son loved it!

I like to slice the cake into 16 thin slivers! So heavenly with a cup of hot green or Jasmine tea!

Don't be put off just because you see ingredient(s) in recipes you're unfamiliar with. Nowadays, everything is available in speciality shops or ethnic supermarkets, and each new thing you try opens up a whole new world of possibilities and taste adventures! Happy discovery!

1 comment:

  1. im adding some coconut and some eggs now, but following your recipe mostly and LOVE that you offered direction of how to deal with the frozen casava :) it's my first time dealing with it so totally appreciated that!! i am in toronto too, and have almost 2 year old twins, so im very happy to see the parallels! i imagine it will turn out deliciously, thanks a lot :) sunni (