Manioc — otherwise known as yucca, cassava, mogo or tapioca — is a root that hails from Brazil. It’s now found all over the world — it’s the staple food for an estimated 500 million people, according to the United Nations. There are more than 1,800 varieties.
Still, this ingredient was barely on the radar for Brazilian chef Teresa Corção of the restaurant O Navegador. On the TEDGlobal 2014 stage today, she shared the moment that she discovered for herself just how delicious manioc can be — when she ate a tapioca crepe while at a regional cooking competition and was blown away by its complexity. Now, she’s realized that this humble root can be used in many different ways, and has dedicated her career to promoting the use of it and other heritage ingredients.
“It’s one of the most ancient foods of my country,” she says. “Small farming is an endangered activity all over the world. All of us can change the reality by eating products from small farmers and looking for our treasures. We all have [ancient foods] that are endangered and can vanish.”
While Corção spoke on the TEDGlobal stage, assistant chef Diogo Antunes prepared a dish on stage for the audience to sample. Below, this recipe.
Vegetarian trooper’s beans (aka Tropeiro vegetariano)
100g farinha d’agua (thick manioc flour from the north of Brazil)
100g beans (cooked)
80g tucupi (a yellow sauce extracted from manioc root)
20g coconut milk
80g carrots (diced and boiled)
70g chopped vegetables (we generally use a mix of broccoli, coriander and carrot leaves, but it depends on what we have in the restaurant on that day)
Salt, as needed
Step 1: Hydrate the farinha d’água with the tucupi and coconut milk, and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Heat the butter in a sauté pan, and add the onions and garlic. Cook until softened.
Step 3: Add the vegetables, stir until cooked.
Step 4: Take the pan off the flame, add the hydrated flour and mix until all the ingredients are hot.
Step 5: Add salt, if necessary. And serve!
Want more manioc? Head over to Ideas.TED.com for a bonus recipe from Corção »