Casabe Makeover

Traditional casabe is bread made with shredded cassava. It’s a bit dry and doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but it fed entire families for hundreds of years starting with the Taino indians. It even became a method of payment during colonial times, helping to pay people’s salaries, tools for agriculture and taxes.

For the love of food and history, we found ourselves in the heart of Loiza looking for Doña Lula, one of the few Puerto Ricans who still prepares this bread at her humble joint, El Burén de Lula.

Her technique is simple. After finely shredding the cassava, Doña Lula squeezes all the water out of the root vegetable and places it on a traditional metal burén or wood fired griddle. She uses a thin rustic wooden frame to give it a rectangular shape. Then, once cooked, people can break it into smaller pieces and eat it with stewed crab, with a soup or as a side for fish.

It is actually pretty good once you dip it in a rich sauce. 

Back home, we decided to play with the recipe to get a more moist and malleable texture. We shredded the cassava in bigger shreds, used plenty of olive oil and seasoned it with salt. We also used the pizza stone as a substitute to the metal burén. The result was not bad at all.

We got a sort of thin tortilla that is perfect to eat with a good ceviche, bean salad or just fresh salsa. Make a few dozen of these and you’ve got yourself are a great appetizer for your next party. Oh, yes… and it’s naturally gluten free!

Casabe flats with black eye pea and avocado salad - Ingredients 
  • 3 to 4 Cups of shredded cassava 
  • 2 Teaspoons of olive oil per cup of cassava 
  • Salt to taste 
For bean salad
  • 1 ½ Cups of black eye peas 
  • 1/3 Cup of finely chopped red onion 
  • 1 Cup of microgreens 
  • 1 Small avocado, diced 
  • 1 Jalapeño, finely diced 
  • Olive oil to taste 
  • A splash of vinegar 
  • A sprinkle of salt and pepper 

Preheat the oven at 325 degrees. Then mix the shredded cassava with the salt and oil. Add a few drops of olive oil to the pizza stone and grease evenly. Add mounds of casabe to the pizza stone and flatten with your spatula. Cook for about 10-12 minutes before flipping to the other side and cook for about another 5 minutes. Don’t let the edges get too crispy, just lightly golden.

Mix all the ingredients for the salad and serve with the casabe flats.

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