In Guadeloupe Archipelago, we are surrounded with a wide variety of root vegetables also called Ground Provisions. My grand-father has always been a farmer his entire life, he has a big garden and grows multiple tropical fruits and vegetables. When I was living over there, I remember visiting my grand-parents every Sunday and go back home with so many fruits and vegetables especially root vegetables. When you are a kid, you don’t necessarily see the value of picking a fruit from the garden to make a fresh juice or eating a vegetable straight from the garden. Now when I am looking back at it, I can clearly say that I have been lucky to live this experience. In today blog post, I am going to focus on the Malanga. This root vegetable is the main ingredient of our famous Malanga and Pumpkin (Giraumon in Guadeloupe Archipelago) fritters that most of Guadeloupians are doing on Good Friday.
Origin & Description
Malanga is native to Northern South America and can also be found in Africa, Caribbean islands, The Philippines, Asia, Florida, California as well as multiple tropical areas all around the world. Malanga plants have soft and large elephant ear-shaped leaves that can be up to 60 centimetres long. Young Malanga’s leaves are edible and are consumed like spinach. The tuber is oval-shaped and varies considerably in size weighing between 200 to 900 grams. The biggest one can be mistaken for Yam. The skin is shaggy with white and brown stripes. Inside, the flesh is crisp and firm ranging in colour from white, beige, yellow to pink. In terms of taste, the Malanga is a delicious vegetable root with a nutty flavour.
As most of root vegetables, there are various ways to cook a Malanga. Once you peeling it you can boil, steam, fry or roast it depending on your preferences. Boiled or steamed Malanga can be mashed with coconut oil, butter or cream to use as a side dish, or cut into pieces and roast with salt and pepper like fries. Also, the Malanga root can be dried and ground into flour. For those who are intolerant to wheat or gluten, Malanga flour is a good alternative. In Guadeloupe Archipelago, the most popular dish including Malanga is Pumpkin and Malanga fritters. In this recipe, the raw Malanga is grated.
Nutrients and Health benefits
Malanga is high in fibre and calories. Additionally, it has many essential nutrients and is extremely mineral-rich. Indeed, it contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and small amounts of calcium and iron. It is also a good source of riboflavin, folate and has small amount of Vitamin C. So, by consuming Malanga you can limit your risk of high blood pressure, strengthen your bones and teeth as well as improving the process of cell growth and oxygen transport around your body.
When visiting Guadeloupe Archipelago, the best period to enjoy a Malanga is between March to October. But obviously, if you are going to any big market outside this period, you will still be able to enjoy it.