Cassava farm.

Are you a fan of Bubble tea? Was tapioca pudding ever on the menu while growing up? If the answer is yes, then you already know more about cassava than you might have thought.


White tapioca pearls for bubble tea.

Cassava, otherwise known as Manihot esculenta, goes by many names: tapioca, yuca, manioc, and mandioca to many but a few. Cassava, a root vegetable native to South America, was introduced to Africa by Portuguese traders in the late 16th Century. Since then cassava has grown to be so popular in the continent that Africa currently accounts for 60% of the 291 million tons produced in 2017.

Easy to grow, even in poor soils with low rainfall, it is non-seasonal and has a very wide harvesting window, all of which goes to explain its popularity, not just in Africa but in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brazil.


Cassava flour and root.

Both root and leaves are edible, but it is the root that is the most commonly consumed part of the cassava.

What makes cassava so popular? Its versatility: fried, baked, mashed, fermented, pounded, baked, stewed, grated, or turned into pasta. Its versatility isn’t confined to its cooking methods, cassava can be found in many shapes and forms from all-purpose flour to starch, from semolina (as fine as attiéké to coarser like gari) to pearls or in shreds like in Abacha.  Cassava has found its way in anything from Filipino Cassava Cake to Taiwanese Bubble Tea, Brazilian Bolinho de Macaxeira, Indonesian Cassava Noodles, or Nigerian Abacha Salad.


Spicy cassava crisps.

Another reason behind its recent surge in popularity is the fact that is gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free. Low in fat, very high in potassium, Vitamin C, and resistant starch, it helps reduce inflammation and promotes gut health.

Unlike other gluten-free flours such as almond or coconut, cassava flour has a soft texture, is neutral in flavour and can replace wheat 1:1. For the flour, the whole root is peeled, dried, and ground whereas in cassava starch, also known as tapioca starch, the starch is extracted out of the root through a process of washing and pulping. Two very different products just like maize flour and corn starch.

If you want to give cassava flour a chance, millions already have, I cannot think of a better way than this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

Makes 1 loaf


250gr/2 cups The Smoodyfruit Company Cassava Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

125gr/ ½ cup butter, softened

235gr/ 1 cup sugar (we like a mix of half brown sugar, half white)

400gr/14 ounces ripe, peeled & mashed bananas

2 large eggs, beaten

100gr/3.5 ounces mini dark chocolate chips


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs to the sugar mix and ignore any curdling since the mixture will come back together once the flour is added.
  4. Add mashed bananas followed by chocolate, and the flour and baking powder mix.
  5. Pour batter into a prepared loaf tin, spread it evenly, and add extra chocolate chips on top if you like. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Leave to cool completely before removing from the pan and tuck in!