by Karlos Ponte
on June 28, 2016

Karlos Ponte does Cassava 3 ways: Almojábanas with seasoned pork fat

A staple food commonly consumed by the Andean cultures living in Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia, almojábanas are moist, chewy bread balls made from cassava flour and cheese. At Restaurant Taller in Copenhagen, Venezuelan Chef Karlos Ponte accompanies his almojábanas with a side of a fluffy, whipped pork fat, seasoned with fresh herbs, pumpkin seeds and lime zest.

Cooked cassava is a particularly versatile ingredient that lends itself to many different applications. The version of almojábanas served at Restaurant Taller is made from a combination of cassava flour, Mexican queso fresco (cheese) and fermented cassava, which takes on its own unique cheese-like flavor. The almojábanas and pork fat share certain caramellic aromas in common, while the bread's honey-scented notes can be found in the parsley, which shares separate aromatic links to the cilantro, pumpkin seeds and lime zest used to season the pork fat.

Almojábanas (makes 20)

Seasoned Pork Fat

preparation

  • 500 g pork fat
  • 70 g pumpkin seeds
  • 10 g sunflower oil
  • 80 g water
  • 2 g salt
  • 15 g fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 15 g fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 5 g lime zest

If refrigerated, allow the pork fat to come to room temperature before using.

Add the pumpkin seeds, oil, salt and water to a sauté pan. Bring the ingredients to a boil and simmer until all of the water has evaporated. The remaining oil in the pan will toast the pumpkin seeds. Once this begins to happen, stir the seeds frequently until lightly toasted.

Using the whisk attachment of a mixer, whip the pork fat until it is light and airy. Gently fold the rest of the ingredients into the whipped pork fat until evenly distributed. Reserve and set aside until ready to serve.

Almojábanas

preparation

  • 20 g milk
  • 25 g vegetable oil
  • 150 g cassava (tapioca) flour
  • 125 g fermented cassava (lacto-fermented pulp in 3% salt)
  • 10 g salt
  • 60 g whole egg
  • 125 g Mexican queso fresco (fresh cheese)
  • Seasoned Pork Fat (recipe above)

Preheat oven to 190ºC/375ºC. Place a Silpat mat on a baking tray.

Mix all of the ingredients using a mixer with a hook attachment until they begin to form a dough. Using your hands, separate and shape the dough into balls (10 grams each). Space the balls evenly on the Silpat.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until golden.

Serve immediately with seasoned pork fat.

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