Monday, January 17, 2011

Cassava, a multi-function edible root; making Gari

Cassava is known in French as Manioc, and here in the United States often as Yuca. It seems it originated in South America, but it is widely grown in equatorial Africa. In Cameroon it is a staple, and the most common and popular use is Gari, a sort of coarse tapioca; mixed with water, sugar and peanuts to make a filling snack or meal. In fact, the way most Europeans know Cassava is through tapioca pudding!
A field was planted by a friend in Abo, Littoral region, two years ago, and finally the cassava roots were harvested in November/December  2010 (a warm and dry time of the year). Our very trusted friend Guérin supervised and participated in the harvest and the making of Gari from beginning to end, and sent us photographs of the process.
Cassava in the field
Cassava and bags transported to the main road
(left to right) Piling cassava roots at loading area; filling the truck; unloading

Peeling the roots; the drying area; putting the peeled roots into bags
Grinding; sifting/soaking; drying
Drying in the sun; finished Gari; bagging for the market
After the bags of finished Gari were filled, they were sold at the market in Sousa, about an hour away from Douala. This tiny venture created a few temporary jobs, at least!

Sousa Food Market

Uncooked Miondo
Other uses for the Cassava root are miondo, a perennial Duala favorite, written about in an earlier post about Cameroonian food. 
Our Latin/Caribbean-American community here in the United States enjoys Yuca fries, and Cassava bread is made in the Dominican Republic. Leaves are used in stews similarly to spinach. More is found about other countries' uses on the Wikipedia page.
Cooked Miondo


  1. How interesting and some great photos :-)

  2. Love cassavas. They are so versatile: you can pan-sear, boil, grill them. Not to mention cooking them as dessert (in sweet milk) or as a savoury dish (cooked in coconu milk with meat).

  3. S. Lloyd: Please do share any easy recipes, especially for desserts!

  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences I am an American woman who met a Cameroonian man and I am planing to move there with my children much to the dismay and objections of my family...They base there decisions without learning any facts about the culture of Cameroon and the family of Cameroon. so I hope they read your posts as i have asked them to and it opens their minds and hearts a little.

  5. Chandra, feel free to let me know if you'd like to discuss before you leave.

  6. That would be great....Anything you would like to share with me would be much appreciated my email address is

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  8. Hi, I am writing an article for a newspaper in Colombia on the foods of Cameron. I would like to ask you some questions. You can contact me at


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