Casabe, the “fresh bread” of indigenous communities, is a thin dough obtained from cassava. Yuca or Cassava is relatively easy to harvest in the humid areas of the Amazon region. This is a popular food for several indigenous communities in Ecuador, mainly the Sionas and Secoyas.
Casabe tortillas have to be made with freshly harvested cassava. To take it out of the ground requires the skill of someone who knows the field, and a machete in hand.
Preparing Casabe Tortillas
The elaboration and preparation of this dish is carried out by women, because the process is intricate and must be thorough. Recently we had the chance to prepare Casabe with the Tarapui community in Cuyabeno Wildlife Center.
We were invited to cook at the communal house following these next steps:
Turn on the stove and place a clay pot on top (so that it begins heating up)
Harvest the cassava in the field, and peel them
Once peeled, grate the cassava with an artisanal grater
After it has been grated, take the zest and place it on a sifter (made out of balsa fiber)
Later it is hung on a pole to be squeezed- all of the liquid is collected below
Once the dough is squeezed, it is mixed with flour (to elaborate the tortillas)
Place the dough on the clay pot, spread it out evenly with your hand forming a circle and press until the surface is smooth and flat
Once the tortillas have shape, flip them around so that both sides are golden. And finally: serve the tortillas (they can be accompanied with marmalade, tuna, or another topping you like!)
-Salt (to taste)
This gastronomic experience of the Amazon, beyond flavors, is special because of the process and careful preparation.