Casabe (Cassava Bread)

Casabe (cassava bread)

If you don’t know what casabe (cassava bread) is, Aunt Ilana wrote a fantastic article that explains it all. You’d be well-served to read it.

If you know what casabe is, you are probably asking yourself why I have to write a recipe for it. After all, Dominicans don’t make casabe at home. We just walk to our nearest colmado or supermarket and choose from half a dozen varieties of this “bread”.

Empanaditas de yuca o cativias

Casabe is an ancient food. Possibly the only dish native to the island that still remains part of our cuisine. Very little has changed in its preparation, mostly because of its impressively short list of ingredients (one!), and simple preparation.

Casabe is made by peeling, washing, grating, drying and heating yuca, the root that was the staple of the Taíno diet, and is still part of our diet today.

Casabe (cassava bread)

So what possessed me to even try this?

A few months ago a reader (hi Catherine!) wrote to me to tell me the story of her teaching some friends in Canada how to make casabe. She ended one the emails in our exchange with “Taino women would have been proud of me”.

I’m sure they would, Catherine.

Mambá (Dominican peanut butter)

Now, I have to warn you that Casabe is an acquired taste. It’s a vehicle, used to carry other tastes and is rarely ever eaten on its own. It has been variously compared to sawdust and cardboard by those not on the list of fans. The reality is that it has a very mild taste, but served with a dip it beats the competition when it comes to health advantages.

Casabe is very rich in fiber, has zero cholesterol, no sodium, no fat, and only a moderate carbohydrate content. It’s very filling and I consume it often for just this reason. Casabe is most commonly found served with mambá, the Dominican savory peanut butter, or with habichuelas con dulce, a uniquely Dominican dessert.

So go ahead, give it a try. And to make things a bit more interesting, I have added two options for flavored casabe. I hope you like it.

Aunt Clara
Casabe (cassava bread)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of cassava (yuca), peeled and washed
Parmesan casabe
  • ⅓ cup of freshly grated parmesan
Garlic casabe
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed into a paste
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Grate the casava with the least coarse side of the grater.
  2. Using a clean cotton cloth, squeeze the cassava until you extract as much liquid as possible.
  3. Spread on a baking tray and leave in the fridge for an hour (the refrigerator acts as a dehumidifier.
  4. Heat oven to 250 ºF (120 ºC).
  5. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  6. Spread some cassava on it, making sure to break down any clumps before you do.
  7. Cook for 45 seconds, turn and cook for another 45 seconds, or until both sides are light golden.
  8. Once you have made all the cassava breads, place on a wire tray and bake for 5-10 minutes or until cassava has turned a light brown color (see pictures).
To make parmesan casabe
  1. Mix half the grated parmesan with the grated cassava before step 3. Proceed with the instructions above. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan before placing in the oven.
To make garlic casabe
  1. Mix garlic and salt with the grated cassava before step 3. Proceed with the instructions above. Sprinkle with the olive oil before placing in the oven.
Notes
Use the smallest pan you have. I used a one-egg pan to make 12 single serving cassava breads. If yours is bigger, serving size may vary

Aim for thin casabe - thinner casabe is crispier.

Place in a sealed bag and refrigerate - it should keep for weeks.
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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Jonothan October 15, 2014, 9:20 PM

    Hi Clara! Thanks for the recipe. I made it at home but the casabe came out extremely hard. I made them thin and they were crispy, but almost too hard to chew. Is it supposed to be so tough? Do you have any suggestions?

    • Aunt Clara October 16, 2014, 11:39 PM

      It was either overcooked, or had big chunks of cassava. Make sure to cook the minimum necessary, and that the grated cassava is very loose when you add to the pan. Any clumps will turn hard.

  • Ana Adames December 29, 2013, 5:57 AM

    Hi, my husband is Dominican and I am south American. He gets homesick often, so I think I will try making some of these recipes, wish me luck

  • Deception December 13, 2013, 8:26 AM

    casava ideal for gluten free recipes

  • Rosemary Ferrer October 1, 2013, 9:36 PM

    Hi Dona Clara!
    This is my first time in your website and I was wondering if you also know or have a recipe of how to make the dough for “empanadillas de yuca” or yucca beef patties. My husband has been challenging me to make this dish for him in years and I was wondering if you could help me to surprise him.
    Thank you in advance and keep posting those great recipes from our beautiful home country, we enjoyed the casabe recipe and we are going to give it a try. Thanks again.

    • Aunt Clara October 1, 2013, 9:50 PM

      Thanks, Rosemary. Welcome. I hope you stay and invite your friends

      This is what you are looking for: Cativías.

  • Mari September 17, 2013, 4:10 PM

    Te quedó espectacular :) Tainas will be proud of you too Clara. You’ve done an awesome job. I started to make my own casabe about a week ago, but I don’t refrigerate it. Will try as you do for next time.

    Saludos

  • judith September 1, 2013, 1:56 PM

    Hi Aunt Clara,
    I just discoverd cassave when reading about tapioca pudding. Going to the store I found two hands full of different products and decided to buy dried cassave instead of tapioca pearls, thinking I could use it for more purposes. Now by accident I discoverd your wonderful website and am wondering if I can make cassabe from dried cassave. It is much rougher than flower, it looks like it was coursed and dried.
    Thank you for your time
    In gratitude
    Judith

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook June 19, 2013, 6:04 PM

    I would love to try unique food from all over the world and this sounds interesting that I would love to have some. I love the exchange between a reader and you. It’s very sweet of you to make this recipe and share with us!

    • Aunt Clara July 1, 2013, 5:35 PM

      I loved making this. It somehow made me prouder than any other recipe I ever wrote.

  • Sandra Paez June 17, 2013, 11:31 AM

    No crei que fuera tan facil hacer Casabe. Gracias por la receta!!

  • Catherine Tactuk June 17, 2013, 11:24 AM

    AWWWW You are so sweet!! I am so happy to read this post and see that I inspired you in some way :D You have made my day.

    I hadn’t thought of making them in the oven, I’ll give it a try next time. THANK YOU!!!

    • Aunt Clara June 17, 2013, 4:16 PM

      Catherine, the oven step is to make sure that it is completely dry and crispy, otherwise it goes stale in our humid weather.

      And yes, I always credit readers, friends, and strangers that inspire my search for our flavors. Thank you very much for planting the seed in me. It was a long time coming. :)

  • Mijú June 17, 2013, 10:13 AM

    Que bueno de yuca :)
    Un saludito