Earlier this year we held a fabulous roots workshop at The Mulch Pit (in Nightcliff, Darwin).
We had over 30 people attending, some cassava harvesting and wonderful presenters sharing their food stories and recipes of the easily grown roots- Cassava and Taro, they included-
- Matumba and his Cassava pone and Taro chips
- Grusha and Cassava gnocci
- Pascalini and Shirley and wonderful cassava leaf dishes
- Emma and a Pacific taro leaf dish and
- Bhavini and her cassava root curry.
Bhavini has lived in Darwin for over 15 years and is also part of our GULP events team, she grew up in England in an Indian family and was passed on many recipes from her mum. In England many ingredients for these needed to be imported, so she is happy to live somewhere they can be grown, and she eats a lot of local produce, growing it and buying it from Rapid Creek Market.
Above Bhavini explains the Cassava plant and how it is grown and used..
Below she explains all of the ingredients used for a cassava recipe learnt fro her family; the recipe has a tomato base, so to keep it as local as possible make this when tomatoes are harvested (August- October)
Indian cooking uses a lot of dry spices and each bride is given this nifty looking tin set to store them in on the time of her marriage! Some of these spices can be grown in Darwin, like turmeric and chilli and cardamon and mustard seeds (dry season), of course many of these are very fiddly to harvest and imported cheaply from Asian countries; others are a little harder (like cloves and star anise) as they are from large trees.
Tamarind features as the zingy flavouring to the curry and is a large tree with a pulpy pod and can be found happily growing in the Darwin region, or bought processed from Asian shops.
The cassava root is peeled and cut into pieces and all of the other ingredients chopped.
Here is the full recipe-
1kg of cassava skinned and cut into 1inch cubes
4 fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
1 large brown onion roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
3 bird’s eye chillies (adjusted to taste)
6 curry leaves
2 tea spoons of tamarind concentrate/2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp
2 tea spoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 table spoon olive oil
6 leaves of Thai coriander finely sliced
Boil cassava in lightly salted water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1L of water) until tender.
Drain liquid and reserve.
Pound garlic, ginger and chilli’s into a paste using a pestle and mortar.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add cumin seeds and wait until they start to “pop”.
Add onions and curry leaves and sauté until softened (5 minutes).
Add curry paste and dry spices and fry until aromatic (you will feel a tickle in your nose).
Add chopped tomatoes, tamarind paste/pulp and sauté until tomatoes have softened, add 500ml of water and bring to the boil.
Add cassava and cook for 30-40 minutes until sauce has thickened.
Garnish with coriander
Serve with rice and riata