What you'll need:
A pound of cassava (yuca, manioc) root.
About one largish root will do.
of all-purpose flour
1 small onion
tsp of sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
butter or other seasoning as desired
First peel the root, and discard the yelowish core if you
can distinguish it. (It is a thin, tough line running
down the exact center.) Then cut it into chunks and boil
it until tender. Not just firm-but-tender, like a potato,
but really tender, because you're going to be
mashing this stuff up. When it's soft, drain it, remove
the core if you didn't get it before (it'll be easy
to find if you look for it) and then
put it in a bowl and mash it up with a potato masher.
Keep at it until it's smooth or your arms get sore.
Next, dice the onion,
add everything but the oil and butter to the mashed
root, and mix it up well.
Heat up a frying pan to medium high. While that's
warming shape the mixture into cakes about 1/2 inch
thick and however big you want the servings to be. (I
suggest making 6 to 8 cakes out of a batch this
size. If you're making these for bento purposes, you
can shape them to fit your box.) Your hands will get
really sticky and messy during this stage, as the stuff
is more like potato salad than dough. However, washing
your hands after shaping each cake, and molding them
with wet hands the same way you shape onigiri, will
make it much easier. After you finish
that, oil the pan and put down one
or more cakes, depending on how many will fit. Let it
cook for a few minutes, then turn it. (The bottom will have
dark brown spots; that's all right. If they're too dark
or burnt-looking, turn down the heat a tad.) Press the
fritters down with your spatula and let them cook for
a few minutes. When they're done they will have a crust
and not inclined to bend or fall apart at all. You may
need to turn them a few more times, which is fine. You
can also turn down the heat and let them cook, covered,
for a few minutes longer.
When these are done, serve them hot with melted butter,
or whatever other topping you like.
One note about cassava - you must cook it.
Not that you'd want to eat it raw, but the cassava root
contains chemicals (specifically, cyanogenic glucosides)
that can be harmful unless cooked. Cooking will
neutralize the toxicity. Don't let this frighten you
- if it were truly dangerous, I doubt that Kroger
would carry it in the produce section! Just don't munch
on it raw.