The streets of Mombasa are bustling with food stalls. Mouthwatering scents of hot barbecued mishkaki (skewered meat), chicken tikka and short ribs put flocks of passers by into a trance. Fried spicy packed potatoes, potato bajias (battered fried potato rounds), and lentil bajias are sold topped with chutneys you only see in your dreams. The coastal strip is lined with vendors selling freshly fried cassava chips, grilled corn and deep fried cassava cut into large pieces – all topped with a good dusting of salt, cayenne and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in my 9 years being married to my Kenyan husband, it’s that they know flavour combinations like no one else. They’ve mastered the art of sweet, savoury, tangy, and spicy in each bite that brings you back for more time and time again.
Today I’m excited to share the simple yet delicious recipe for fried cassava, called mohogo (read mogo) in Swahili. It’s perfect with grilled meats, or the chicken pictured below.
Mombasa Style Fried Mohogo
What you’ll need:
1 pack of frozen cassava tubers, I use Ferma brand
Oil for deep frying, I use canola
Salt, cayenne and lemon wedges
The first step is to boil the cassava until a knife can be inserted easily, but be careful not to over boil or it’ll become mushy.
- To boil, place the cassava in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil on high heat; once boiling turn to a low medium and cover. Check for doneness every 5 minutes.
- Strain the cassava until there is no water remaining, let it cool. The centre holds a hard vein that needs to be removed. Simply pull it out, if it’s visible. If the tubes are whole, cut in half and remove the vein.
- Heat your oil on high heat. You want it to be very hot before frying, as the cassava is already cooked. Frying crisps the outside and makes this simple snack irresistible.
- Test the oil by dropping in a small piece. If it sizzles immediately, and doesn’t sink, the oil is ready.
- Go ahead and fry the cassava pieces, being careful not to overcrowd the pot/wok. Overcrowding will result in greasy, soggy cassava.
- You may need to flip the cassava over, depending on how much oil you’re using. The mohogo is ready when it is golden brown and crispy. This should take about 2 minutes each side, or 5 minutes max if it’s completely submerged in oil.
To serve: gently break each piece open from the centre, being careful not to break it apart – if it does break, it’s okay. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and squeeze in some lemon juice. If the pieces are still intact, close them so the filling is on the inside.
We love having this mohogo as a snack on a lazy Sunday afternoon, enjoy! 🙂