It is the last Fresh Friday of the month, so I went to the store to roam around and see what caught my attention. My find? Malanga. Of course, I hadn’t heard of this, but the handy description card claimed it had a nutlike flavor that develops a unique smooth melting quality when boiled. Well…I like nuts…so I looked it up. They compared it to taro root. Not only do I love taro chips, but my parents are heading to Hawaii this week to escape this polar weather! To me, it’s a sign that this is my vegetable for the day.
So what is this thing exactly? It is a tropical root vegetable that resembles a coconut on the outside and a sticky potato on the inside. It is used like a plantain or a potato often as a mash or in chip form, but is also made into flour. It is commonly used in Cuban and Puerto Rican cooking. Although I saw a Malanga mash recipe, I stuck with my taro chip inspiration and opted for a gluten free baked Malanga chip recipe instead (or you could fry them).
Random Fact – Since you are likely here for allergy issues, I will point out that malanga is considered one of the most hypoallergenic foods in the world. It contains the smallest starch grains which in turn makes it the most easily digested of the complex carbohydrates.
Gluten Free Malanga Chips
** Just for reference purposes, my malanga was under a pound and I used 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.**
Wash off and peel the malanga. Slice into equal sized coins (I suggest using a mandoline). Put the coins in a bowl and very lightly coat with olive oil. Arrange the coins on a baking sheet so they are not overlapping, and bake on 375° F. Mine took about 20-25 minutes, but the cook time will be based on the thickness of your malanga slices. Salt them when you take them out of the oven to let them cool.
These were extremely crunchy and tasted almost identical to taro chips, so I was a happy camper. I would make these again, possibly making my slices a little thinner so they didn’t have to cook so long, and I believe a mash could be divinely rich. I’ll get to that one day.