Mel: “Hey girls! Did you know that cassava is toxic?”
Shanice: “Wait, what??! 😱 Why would you say that, Mel? Chicken cassava fritters are on my to-make-snacks list for this weekend!”
Sarah: “Yeah, Mel’s right… But cassava is only toxic when you eat it raw. Well, that’s what I heard 🤷♀️.”
Mel: “Cassava contains cyanogenic glycosides in its natural, raw state. And hydrogen cyanide, which is highly toxic, is released from these cyanogenic glycosides when the raw cassava is chewed and digested.”
Sarah: “Ooh and Shanice, did you know that oppressed natives ate raw cassava to commit suicide to escape from the Conquistadors?”
Shanice: “I had no intention of trying raw cassava any time soon, Sarah 😅.”
Mel: “So, about these chicken cassava fritters, Shanice. Wanna exchange it for my AIP taro root fritters recipe?”
Shanice: “Deal, Mel 😉.”
Want to try these chicken cassava fritters? Here’s how to safely (& easily) prepare your cassava
Simply follow the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) guidelines below:
1. Peel your cassava root and slice it
2. You can choose to boil, bake, fry or roast your cassava root but make sure that it’s well cooked and tender
3. Discard any remaining water after cooking your cassava root
To further reduce your exposure to cyanogenic glycosides, you may want to peel the cassava and cut it in the size and shape needed before soaking it in water for about 24 hours. If you don’t want to cut it first, let the root soak for 48 hours.
Note: There are 2 main types of cassava – a sweet variety (the type we get in Western countries) and a bitter one. The sweet variety produces 20mg of cyanide per kilo of fresh roots whereas the bitter variety can produce more than 1,000mg of cyanide per kilo. So, if you get the bitter variety, you want to soak in water for 60 hours before boiling.
Good to know: Eating your cooked cassava with some animal protein can help your body eliminate any residual cyanide.
What about tapioca pearls and cassava flour?
You don’t need to soak them. The same goes for tapioca starch.
This being said, you can soak your tapioca pearls for 30 minutes to 1 hour to reduce cooking time.
Serving suggestions: Add some zing to your chicken cassava fritters by dunking them in some AIP garlic sauce.
Chicken Cassava Fritters (AIP, Paleo, Gluten Free, Refined Oil Free)
- Cassava, 384g (with skin), 346g (without skin)
- ¾ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 3 tablespoons extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut Oil
- Chicken breasts, raw, cut into small cubes, 240g
- Peel your cassava, just as you would a sweet potato.
- Rinse well and pat dry with a towel.
- Grate your cassava finely (as illustrated).
- Put all the grated cassava in a big bowl. Add it the salt, tapioca starch, and chicken. Give it a quick stir.
- Grab a small handful of grated cassava and squeeze it in your hand. If it doesn’t stick together, put it back in the bowl and add some tapioca starch (½ tablespoon at a time.) *See notes below. Mix everything together.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture, and form into small balls using your hands. If your cassava balls fall apart, add some more tapioca starch to the mixture. *See notes below.
- Pour the extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil in a small but deep skillet.
- Let the oils heat on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. This is a crucial step. If your oil is not hot enough, your cassava fritters will absorb a lot of oil. And will remain under cooked inside.
- To make sure that the oil is hot enough, place your hand above the skillet. If you feel some heat, gently dip one cassava ball into the hot oil over medium heat. If it immediately sizzles, gently add the other cassava balls, one by one. Make sure not to overcrowd your skillet.
- Cook the cassava balls for about 5 minutes on one side and flip them over until they turn a beautiful golden brown color.
- These chicken cassava fritters are best served warm (but not piping hot) with some AIP garlic sauce.