The Cassava is another root crop that is a staple in many South Pacific countries. It grows readily enough in Queensland and is on a par with sweet potato and taro in usefulness and versatility. Another name for cassava is tapioca and those of us who had school dinners would remember it as 'dessert' or 'pudding'.
The tapioca plant grows very easily and quickly from cuttings. Three cuttings we stuck in the ground in a not-very-desirable spot nevertheless have grown into good thick bushes a couple of metres tall. One of these produced a couple of kilogrammes of tasty root. Another will be dug up before the next meeting, when I will cook some for tasting. I will also have some cuttings if you want to grow it yourself. Here is one of a number of tasty things you can make using cassava:
4 cups fresh grated cassava
2 cups coconut milk
2 Tbl melted butter
2 cups sugar
½ cup coconut milk
grated cheese or cottage cheese
Peel and grate cassava. Beat eggs, add sugar, butter and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Add the grated cassava and 2 cups coconut milk. Mix well and place in a greased pan (or line pan with banana leaves), bake at 180°C until almost done (30-40 mins).
Top with ½ cup coconut milk and sugar to taste and sprinkle with cheese. Bake a further 5-10 mins or until brown.
Cool, cut into slices and serve as a snack or dessert.
Apart from its undoubted usefulness as a source of food, it is an attractive plant in its own right and deserves a spot in any garden.
DATE: May 1991
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