fermented cassava paste
fermented cassava paste also known as placali is prepared from manioc paste (starch obtained by grinding with a mortar and pestle), diluted in a little water to the consistency of a thick mush, filtered, rested, rid of its water and gradually thickened by slow cooking until a transparent paste is obtained, softer than foutou, and which will keep in a cool place for one or two days.
The viscous consistency of plakali and the sauces (sticky sauce, seed, eggplant or clear sauce) that usually accompany it, gave rise to the Ivorian expression “sauté like plakali”.
Originally from South America, cassava (Manihot Esculenta) was introduced to Central Africa by the Portuguese in the early 17th century. It is currently the staple food of many African countries (Congo, DRC, Gulf of Guinea).
With an annual production of 200 million tons, cassava ranks 5th among the world’s food plants after maize, rice, wheat and potato.
Cassava flour is very rich in starch (75% starch and sugars), but is low in protein (2%). Cassava is naturally gluten-free.
In West Africa, Cameroon and the Congos, cassava flour is used to make a dough called Foufou or FUFU or simply Paste. This dough or Foufou is called Bounga/Foufou in Congo and Zaire and Plakali in Ivory Coast. Foufou is made with water and cassava flour. Depending on the country and the region, Foufou is eaten more or less firm. It is the quantity of water that determines the consistency of Foufou. In general it is presented in the form of oval balls.
The Manioc plant
Cassava is a perennial plant reaching 2 to 5 meters in height that can be found in the wild from the Amazon region to southern Mexico.
The roots of cassava are divided into bundles of tubers measuring between 30 and 50 cm by 5 to 10 cm in diameter. Each tuber weighs between 2 and 5 kg.
In Africa, bitter cassava is more cultivated than sweet cassava because its yield is much higher.