Malanga is a root vegetable that is commonly used in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine, among others. It is a brown, shaggy tuber that has a white inside. It originated in South and Central America and is also grown in the Caribbean including Puerto Rico and Cuba.
This tuber is a staple food in many countries. In Cuban cuisine it is used in soups and stews, mashed, fried, and boiled. In this article we’ll go through what a malanga is, how to cook with it, and offer a collection of recipes to use it in.
Are malanga and taro the same thing?
They are from the same family (Araceae) however they belong to different genus groups. Malanga belongs to the genus Xanthosoma and taro belongs to the genus Colocasia.
How can you tell them apart? The skin on malanga is brown and has a wiry, shaggy texture. Taro is also brown, but lighter in color and the skin is a bit smoother, less bristly. Taro also has a bulb like shape, while the malanga is long and tapers at one end.
On the inside: The flesh is white, almost bright white. Taro’s flesh can vary between white, cream colored with purple flecks.
Frequently asked questions
Choose a malanga that is firm all over without any soft spots. It is hard so you can inspect it by pressing down firmly. Also, make sure it is well-formed and free of dents, blemishes, mold, etc.
Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Store them the same way you would potatoes.
No, it must be fully cooked before consuming. Popular preparations include: boiled, mashed, fried, or added to soups.
It has a unique flavor that is mild and earthy. The texture is similar to a russet potato, but not so grainy, it is a bit smoother.
There is no translation for malanga, it’s pronounced and spelled the same in Spanish and English.
How to peel malanga
Peeling a malanga can be tricky because it has a wiry, thick exterior doesn’t work well with a peeler. Additionally, the white inside is very slippery. It is important to take care when handling. Use a paper or kitchen towel to help you get a good grip if necessary.
The best way to peel it is like you would a pumpkin or butternut squash. First, cut the ends off to create a stable base. Then cut it into two or three pieces, depending on its size (which can vary greatly).
Next, stand the piece on the widest end and cut off thin slices working all the way around until the peel is gone.
Keep them in a bowl of cold water once they are peeled to slow the browning process. Rinse them with fresh cold water when you are ready to use.
Malanga is a versatile root vegetable that can be boiled, baked, fried or added to soup, stews and meat dishes. Here are five recipes to inspire you to use this fantastic root vegetable.
Crema de malanga is a thick, creamy soup, made creamy more by the texture of the Malanga root than actual cream.
Frituras de malanga, are grated malanga combined with egg and flavored with parsley, garlic, salt, and vinegar. They are fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside
Puré de malanga is a simple mashed malanga that is similar to mashed potatoes, but has an earthy flavor that distinctly its own.
Ajiaco is a hearty soup that includes pork, beef and a showcase of tropical vegetables.
These baked malanga chips are crispy, delicious and easy to make.
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