Attiéké is a fermented cassava dish from the Ivory Coast. It consists of only cassava and oil which is processed into a fine grainy product. It is often called cassava couscous and is used as the starchy component of a meal much like a regular couscous or rice.
Making attiéké is lengthy multi step process. The cassava is peeled and chopped into large pieces which are washed clean. Some of the cassava is fermented for several days. Fresh cassava pieces are added to the fermented cassava.
The fermented cassava acts as a yeast and imparts the flavor unique to attieke. During this stage, palm oil, also called red oil is added. The mixed cassavas are ground fine, usually using a mill. Next the cassava pulp goes to a press where the water is squeezed out. From there, the cassava is put through a sieve several time to make it even finer and to break down any lumps.
Finally, the cassava is left to dry. The final product is attiéké which is fine, fluffy and ready to be cooked. At some stage the cassava is boiled and steamed but the order varies depending on who is processing the attiéké. This ensures that the hydrocyanic acid is removed from the cassava before consumption.
Hydrocyanic acid causes cyanide poisoning. When buying fresh cassava in the store, this is usually not a concern as the type of cassava with this toxin is not permitted for sale in some countries including the US.
Attiéké is also spelled acheke. Its consumption is very high in the Ivory Coast and is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the most common way to eat it is with fried fish and vegetables.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Attiéké originates from the coastal regions of the Ivory Coast. It is believed to be a staple of Ivorian cuisine for several centuries. Traditionally prepared by women, attieke would be then sold to other regions.
As the popularity of attieke has spread, the government of the Ivory Coast is seeking a protected status. It is now available in wider markets as a dried or frozen product however Ivorians say that while these products are being marketed as Attiéké, it does not follow the proper preparation methods or come from the Ivory Coast.
A protected status would ensure that only attieke made in the Ivory Coast, prepared in the traditional methods may be sold under that name.
- Cassava (fresh, large) - 4
- Palm Oil - 4 tbsp
- Peel and core 2 of the cassava.
- Chop into smaller pieces and wash well.
- Boil the cassava until half cooked.
- Ferment this cassava for 1-2 days
- Peel, core and wash the other 2 cassava.
- Grate the fresh cassava or use a food processer to shred it finely.
- Add the fermented cassava to the fresh cassava and process them together.
- Heat the palm oil, just until it darkens and starts to smoke. Do not allow it to burn.
- Add and mix it with the cassava pulp.
- Let this mixture ferment for a couple more days.
- Squeeze out all the water, using a piece cheesecloth.
- Next, pass the pulp through a fine sieve several times.
- Spread the now fine pieces in an even, thin layer on trays.
- Set it out to dry in the sun, this could be a day or two.
- Once completely dry, it is ready to use. Prepare like regular couscous.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 900Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 58mgCarbohydrates: 157gFiber: 7gSugar: 7gProtein: 6g
Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.
Photo Credit: Zak_Le_Messager