Malanga is root vegetable native to the South American continent and the West Indies. Sometimes it is known as coco yam, eddo coco, tanniatannia, sato uno, and Japanese Potatoes. In Puerto Rico, malanga is known as yautia. Malanga thrives in tropical and subtropical climate climates. It is related to the taro.
The malanga plant is ornamental, related to the philodendron and dieffenbachia. There are approximately 40 different species of malanga. The malanga plant is over 6 feet high. It produces large leaves, often more than 3 feet long. The leaves of the plant are edible too.
The root of the malanga plant can range from 7 to 10 inches long, and weigh anywhere between 9 oz. and 2 pounds. It is covered in thin, brownish skin that could be smooth, or downy, or could be studded with radicals. The flesh of the root is firm, and crisp, with a slightly viscous pulp. It ranges in color from white, to yellow, to orange, to pink, to a reddish color.
The malanga root has a slight reminiscent taste of hazelnuts. It is high in starch. The malanga root is best cooked. Some varieties contain bitter irritants that are neutralized by cooking. The flavor of malanga root can be overpowering, so use in moderation. It is one of the most digestible complex carbohydrates. Malanga root has the tendency to spoil quickly.
Malanga root contain thiamin, vitamin C, iron, and phosphorus.
Peel and grate finely:
1 lb. white malanga root
Stir together with:
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste
Mix well. The consistency should be like a paste. Drop a tablespoonful at a time into oil for deep-frying (heated to around 375°F). Fry a few minutes, until golden brown, then turn and fry the other side. Drain on paper and serve hot.
Serves 8 – 10 as an appetizer.
© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
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