Description: A cousin of the taro root, malanga is also a tuber. It varies considerably in size and can weigh between 1/2 to 2 pounds.
Covered with a shaggy, brown skin, its flesh can be yellow, beige, or pink. Malanga is usually ground into a paste which can be used to make a rich, starchy flour which can be used in an assortment of foods. Malanga can also be sliced and fried, stewed, or grilled.
People with food allergies sometimes find that malanga is a great hypoallergenic flour alternative, because the particles of starch are very small, reducing the risk of an allergic reaction.
Two varieties of malanga include:
- Blanca which is the most common variety found in the US and varies from a light, earthy, & waxy form to mild and smooth.
- Lila/colorada, simply lila in Cuban markets, has the same club-shaped, scruffy look as the blanca; but the interior is a light grayish-lavender, which turns a putty color when cooked. The texture is heavier than the blanca as is the flavor, which has a hint of bacon.
Taste: Has a nutty flavor that resembles a potato.
Selection: Malanga is best when firm and flesh is light-colored.
Ripening: Not necessary
Season: All year
Brooks Origin: Costa Rica