Manioc. Chips/Fries Otherwise.

Manioc

Manioc. If you don’t know this root vegetable yet, I’ll try to convince you otherwise. If you know it already … then, I can only envy you!

Such a delicious discovery. It all started in Brazil. Remember? Amongst the many different foods we ate, we also tried the ‘mandioca frita’. Eh? Manioc chips? Living in Belgium there is a certain apprehension whenever someone else around the world is trying to sell you fries (chips). Yeah, right!

But these. These fries were the best we ever had. Or almost (sorry to the Belgian audience/ readership!). They were delicious. Fluffy. Crunchy. Crispy. Everything a fry should be. And then some extra added for good measure.

Back in Belgium, I was determined to try and recreate these manioc fries. Granted, there is always the reality that holiday food never tastes the same at home. But fries are fries, right? Wrong!

We went to Matonge (the African neighbourhood in Brussels, which in itself deserves a post … coming soon) and bought manioc. Somehow this root vegetable I always passed by and wondered what to do with it, seemed so accessible. Inviting. Asking ‘fry me, fry me’. Strange, I know. Who knew vegetables can talk?

At home, I tend to stay away from the fryer. Not because I don’t like my fried food (guilty pleasure), but because Mark knows the deep fryer. So: Mark meet manioc. Manioc, meet Mark. The actual process of getting the manioc from its root state to a perfect chip is a little more complex than your usual potato but so worth the effort. Trust me.

1 Manioc, 2 People
Peel the manioc.
Cut the manioc into strips. (Your fries to be)
Cook the manioc in boiling water and salt.
Drain the manioc. Let it cool and dry. Let me repeat this: let it cool and dry. This is one of the most important steps.
Heat the oil to a high temperature in a frying pan or deep fat fryer.
Add the manioc.
Fry until golden brown.
Drain on kitchen towel. Season with (sea) salt. Serve.

Now, aren’t these the best fries you ever had? I thought so.
Brazil and back. We have mastered the mandioca frita. What else could we try cooking with manioc? Now that we are on the same wave length and we discovered how delicious it is – what next? I’d love to have your suggestions. Oh, and have you tried the manioc fries?

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  • Interesting! I thought that manioc would be … I don’t know, kinda gluey, as it’s the basis for tapioca, isn’t it? Very cool, though!

  • I love this root! I’ve never made chips out of it, but I did make a great cake… Nice recipe!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Sounds great. I also thought of it as a tapioca base. I will try to find some out in California, would be fun to try. How about spicy ones? We make a spicy sweet potato fries, and I bet the seasoning would be great on manioc as well!

    Ps…… we changed our site from Chez Denise et Laudalino to Chez Us

  • antonia

    you should buy the manioc flour, to make farofa, something i’m quite shure you tasted in brazil. you caan make them mashed. but if you wait for it to cool after cooking, it will get gluey. it has to be mashed still hot. we use it with a=our jerked beef, somtimes toped with requeijão, to make some dishes…

  • Lovely photographs! Wish I could take some like that. Just picked up a new camera and I can’t seem to get used to it to safe my life!

    Sid

  • I’ve never tried this root, although I have come across it in Amsterdam. Now you’ve peaked my curiosity, and I’ll have to do some research.

    Nice new look by the way!

  • Here in Brazil we like to eat fried manioc cakes, also (excellent to eat while drinking beer). Just mix the mashed cooked manioc with eggs, some flour, salt, pepper, and some parsley, mold the mixture into balls or croquettes, and fry them. You could also fill the balls with mozzarella or “carne seca” (brazilian cured beef).

  • Wonderful. Who knew you could get yucca/cassava (other names for it) in Belgium!? What’s the price like there? Here in Brooklyn, NY we can get yucca for about 59 cents a pound. We make mashed yucca as well as yucca “fries”/chips on the side of many Puerto Rican and other Latino dishes. It is such a great starch and has a really creamy consistency when mashed.

  • Jena

    I just got back from spending three months in Brazil. I was intruduced to mashed manioc while I was there and fell in love with it! It tastes sooo good! I am not quite sure how it was made, but I have emailed the family I stayed with so I can find out. If anyone has a recipe for mashed manioc I sure would appreciate it! I will also try the manioc fries. I have not cooked with this root before, but it has already become my favorite!

  • Mikko

    I was introduced to manioc chips in a brazilian restaurant here in Finland. I got curious about them, and found this article.

    I cut the manioc to discs about 2 mm thick, but they fell apart during the cooking. No matter. I dried the bits in a 50 Celsius oven and fried them in high grade extra virgin olive oil. A little salt, and it tasted incredibly good… and this from one who is no great friend of chips or crisps.

    I’ll have to experiment further with this interesting vegetable. Up there with Quinoa among my favorite culinaristic finds (Quinoa is to rice what manioc is to potato)

  • Sam

    You do know that manioc is poisonous and needs to have the poison extracted
    from it before you eat it. There is a special method to do this.

  • Glauco Melo

    Dear Friends:
    Let me try to help you and everybody who is interested in lern more about what you call as “manioc”. this is a kind of root, I mean, one more kind of root cultivated and consumed in Americas, from Canada to Argentina. This root is almost knewed in almost of the North Americas and some indians tribes as “YUKA”. In Brazil, a big country, this change the name sometimes: “Macaxeira” (Northeast), “Aipim” (Southeast, like in Rio de Janeiro) and “Mandioca” (South, like in Sao Paulo).
    As you probably knows, the roo Potato was fund as a food for the first time by the spanish colonizers in Chile.
    There are many morte comestible roots very apreciated in Brazil, further to Yukas (Manioc): Cara, Inhame, etc. all they were presented by the local indians to the european colonizers Portuguese, Spanish, Hollanders, French and Englishs peoples.
    I hope that this can give you a little bit of more information for your record.
    Best regards,
    Glauco Melo
    from Rio de Janeiro/Brazil

  • William Maxwell

    Dear wordsmith:
    I am writing a master’s thesis on agriculture in Northeast Brazil for the University of New Mexico. May I use the image of manioc with scoop and shavings at the top of the page? It would illustrate my discussion of manioc nicely. You can contact me at mastersthesiswriter@gmail.com. Thank you.