293. Fried mogo (cassava)
For all those missing Mombasa
Mogo, cassava, tapioca or yuca, call it what you want. Its a tube root which originated in Paraguay and Brazil. It was brought to Africa during the slave trade era. Its a staple diet for the poor and high in starch. Lots of cassava or mogo is grown in the surrounding areas of Mombasa. A visit to the famous Mama Ngina Drive or Lighthouse as most Kenyans call it, is not complete without having some mogo and madaf (coconut water). Vendors stack up their jikos on drums, stones or whatever support they can find and roast mogo. Some fry the mogo pieces and make crisps (chips). A bit of lemon, salt and red chilli is applied to the fried or roasted one and enjoyed while gazing out at the deep blue sea. Hot crisps are drizzled with lemon juice, salt and red chilli and served with a smile. I remember when we were young, visiting Mombasa meant a treat of mogo crisps. At that time it was served in a huge paper cone, made from old newspaper and we paid only 1shilling for it! Now a small bag is 40 times that price or more during the peak season. I know of many families who visit Lighthouse every single day. A great spot to laze around, catch up on gossip and meet friends. Youngsters slyly check out the other youngsters. Come Sunday and you would think that the whole of Mombasa is on a fashion parade. People are wearing the humble jeans and tops to saris, salwar kameez, fashionable buibuis(abaya), colourful ridas and don’t forget all those young girls in frilly colourful frocks. Men may not be on a fashion parade but they definitely are there to show off their vehicles ranging from the huge Prados to the humble Passo.
Though we all enjoy the hot fried mogo at lighthouse, sometimes, they can be hard or over fried. I like making my own fried mogo at home. This way I can make sure the mogo is not raw, the oil used is clean and I can make my own dip.
|vendors selling fried mogo, mogo crisps and madaf|
check out the huge baobab tree on the left which Lighthouse is so famous for.
500g cassava or mogo or yuca
2 tsp salt
water for boiling
oil for deep frying
For the dip:
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp salt
1-2 tsp red chilli powder
- Trim the ends of the cassava. Run a sharp knife lengthwise to cut make a slit on the outer covering of the cassava. This will help you to peel the outer peel easily.
- Wash the cassava. Cut it into long wedges of nearly 4 to 6 inches in length. Remember if it has black spots or strands do not use it.
- Put enough in a wide pan. When it becomes hot, add the cassava and salt. Parboil the cassava.
- Drain it out into a colander.
- Pat dry the wedges lightly with a kitchen towel.
- Heat oil for deep frying in a wok, karai or a pan over medium heat.
- When it is hot, fry the cassava in batches till they are light golden brown and crispy.
- Serve fried mogo with the dip.
- My family in UK uses ready frozen cassava. There is no need to parboil it.
- Another way to serve the fried mogo is to cut a slit down the length. Rub it with lemon wedges, sprinkle with salt and red chilli powder and serve.
- To make it into a party starter cut the mogo into big cubes after parboiling. Fry the cubes.
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