Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cassava - Staple food in Dinagat Islands

Did you know my favorite snacks cassava cake, tabirak (ginat-an), linidgid and puto are all made from Cassava? Did you know Cassava has lots of names? We know this as Jaba, kamuting kahoy, kamanting, balanghoy. But in other places they also have different names. Cassava is called mandioca, aipim, or macaxeira in Portuguese, mandio in Guaraní, maniok in Afrikaans and Rotuman, yuca or mandioca in Spanish, muhogo in Swahili,mogho in Gujarati, tapioka in Fijian, kappa or maracheeni in Malayalam, singkong or ubi kayu in Indonesian and Malay language, tugi in Ilocano, balinghoy in Tagalog, maniok in German, Danish and Czech, manyok in Haitian Creole, lumu in Kichwa, manioc in French, mannyokka in Sinhala, khoai mì, khoai sắn in Vietnamese, mianga in Kikuyu and cassave in Dutch.

Myth or not if you plant the cassava stem upside down will produce a poisonous crop. It might be true but one thing for sure, Cassava cannot be eaten uncooked. You know why? It contains free and bound cyanogenic glucosides which are converted to cyanide in the presence of linamarase, a naturally occurring enzyme in cassava. And if this is grown in during drought season will produce more of this toxins. High content of this toxin will also cause Paralytic Neurological disease if consumed in several weeks. But cooking is sufficient enough to remove the toxins.

Besides rice, camote and coconut in Libjo cassava is the main food grown most especially in the upland regions. Its mostly known as substitute to the rice diet.

And so the song says:
Boy: Inday bayle ta
Girl: Di ko ka kapoy
Among pamahaw balanghoy
Among pani-udto balanghoy gi puto
Among panihapon balanghoy gihapon

BTW I have good news, I’ve heard San Miguel Corporation is planning to setup plantation for this crop in the Island.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

mr. webster says that staple means a chief commodity or product, wikipedia says that a staple food is a food that forms the basis of a traditional diet, particularly that of the poor.
i like cassava but i don't think it's the staple food in dinagat islands. dinagat's staple food is RICE. not only dinagat but the whole country. rice also is considered the staple food in east, south and southeast asia. i've been in the island several times before and i saw more ricefields than lands planted with cassava.
cassava is only one of the many substitutes for rice. we have camote, gabi, payaw, mais.