Ubi Kayu (Oo-bee Car-you)or cassava is one of the cheapest potatoes/roots around at 2 Ringgit (US 0.60) per kilo. It became a staple for many when rice became scarce during the second world war when our then Malaya fell under the Japanese occupation. It was a hard time for many.
I did not come from that era but I've heard stories of how cassava or ubi kayu saved many from hunger. It was a poor man's food and still is in many parts of the developing world because it will grow in poor soil all year round and is starchy thus providing much energy for laborious work or to simply starve off hunger while living on meagre means and in poor conditions.
It is a high energy food like rice because it is mainly starch from which tapioca flour is made.
It is versatile. It can be created into delicious desserts, eaten plain, boiled, with curry sauce or dipped into a combo of grated coconut and sugar or slathered with palm sugar syrup or be sliced thinly, deep fried and turned into the most delicious crisps where they are either folded into a sweet, spicy and sticky chillie sauce or sprinkled simply with salt. Heaven help me......those are my favourite crisps ever.
The ubi kayu/cassava also makes one of the most delicious and popular kuih (pronounced coo-way) ever. Made purely form grated cassava, brown sugar and coconut milk this kuih becomes a sticky, gently sweet and a beautifully textured kuih with a good bite about it and with a beautifully crusty golden top.....quite unlike any other. One that every one simply adores. I have yet to know of some one who simply feels neutral about it.
While it baked I simply immersed myself and bathed in its coconutty fragrance.
It is easy peasy to do.
I avoided using eggs as I wanted to make this dairy free but if I had used eggs the kuih would be a lovely golden yellow and softer.
N who is the fussiest eater alive that I know of was even tempted to try just looking at it. And the verdict? MMMMMMMMMMMMMM....reached out for more...MMMMMMMMMMMMMM...reached out for more....MMMMMMMM.....and so on and so forth.....
The recipe ~
This makes quite a lot. I would suggest cutting the recipe in half for a small family. It was a lot for us too!
2 kilos Ubi Kayu/cassava
21/2 cups brown sugar
1 litre thick coconut milk
3 eggs if you wish (lightly beaten)
a pinch of salt
Peel the thick woody skin, wash the ubi kayu and then grate finely. I used a food processor to grate and then used the blade to process into a finer mush. Place in a muslin bag and squeeze well to drain liquid. I got about 2 cups of liquid out.
Let the liquid stand in a bowl for about an hour or less until a white powder of starch settles at the bottom of the bowl and then discard the excess liquid. Incorporate the starch back into the grated ubi kayu.
Add sugar, salt and coconut milk and eggs (if using) and stir well to mix.
Once the mixture is mixed well pour into a baking tin. I used a round one measuring 12 inches in diameter. you could use a 10 inch one and get a slightly taller kuih which would work just as well.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for about an hour until the top is a crispy golden brown.
Allow to cool a few hours or overnight before cutting otherwise it will be too sticky to cut neatly.