Although it is very popular in any Cuban kitchen, malanga is also found in almost every culinary culture throughout the South American continent and even further away, in Africa, where it supposedly comes from. Nobody knows for certain where the malanga plant truly originated, but two theories seem to explain its history. One of them, argues that malanga came from Africa, and it was introduced in South America by African slaves. Supposedly, the slaves brought the vegetable inside the ship´s bodegas and replanted them all over Latin America.
The other theory arguments that malanga was an authocthonous plant of South America, and was introduced to the rest of the world by European explorers. Anyhow, malanga has become in Latin and African culture an indispensable ingredient to cook with.
Malanga is considered to possess excellent health properties. Not only is a tuber full of rivoflavin and thiamine, but it also contains iron and vitamin C. It is the most easily digested of all complex carbohydrates, and it has been classified as the best hypoallergenic food in the culinary world. No wonder, Cubans recommend malanga puree to settle any upset stomach.
What I present to you today with this creamy white flesh vegetable is "frituritas de malanga", or deep fried malanga pancakes. It is a typical Cuban side dish that can accompany any meat, chicken or even shrimp creole ( you will find this last recipe in my blog.) Frituritas do not come out greasy, and their rich, crunchy texture will fill your mouth with a heaven´s delight.
- 5 malangas (medium to small in size)
- 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar ( to prevent the darkening of the white malanga flesh)
- salt to taste
- 2 cups of olive oil, or canola oil (for deep frying)
Add one tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Meanwhile, start heating up the oil in a frying pan. When the oil is sufficiently hot, use a tablespoon to scoop the malanga and drop it in the frying pan. Turn the frituritas over when the sides are golden brown to completely fry both sides. Keep repeating this step until all the malanga paste is all fried.
Set up a plate with a paper towel where you arrange the frituritas to drain the excess of oil. This wil ensure that you get crunchy, golden brown, savory malanga pancakes without being oily.