Settlers on Mars will need to grow their own food. While potatoes may appeal to Americans, the Sino-African colony that joins the first settlers in Born on Mars relies on cassava. As one of the most drought-tolerant crops that can grow in marginal soils, it seems like a good candidate for Mars.
You may have heard of cassava as part of popular “paleo” diets.
Two types of cassava are a staple food for over half a billion people in the developing world. Bitter cassava (roots, peels, and leaves) has cyanide based compounds that must be removed via proper cooking, but sweet cassava contains very few such compounds and has a delicate flavor.
One traditional preparation is to mix a thick paste of cassava flour and water, spread it in a thin layer over a basket, and let it stand in the shade for five hours so the cyanide compounds break down. Another is to peel the roots and soak them in water for three days to ferment. The roots then are dried or cooked.
But perhaps settlers on Mars can skip those steps. If I can give my scifi settlers a cool Artificial Intelligence and construction robots, surely I can give them cassava bred to remove cyanides.
1) Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
2) Meanwhile, beat cassava flour into 2 cups of cold water until the mixture is smooth.
3) Add the cassava mixture to the boiling water.
4) Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth.
5) Cover the porridge and place in a 350ºF oven.
6) Bake until the mixture has thickened to a dough-like consistency – about 45 minutes.
I think I’d like to sweeten it with stevia.
1) In a large bowl, mix 1 cup cassava flour with 3 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. On Earth, add a couple eggs and the noodles will hang together better. Add hot water as needed while…
2) Using your hands (don’t burn yourself!) blend and knead the mixture into a ball of dough
3) Lightly dust an area to roll out your ball of dough with a bit of cassava flour
4) Roll out your dough with a rolling pin to desired thickness
5) With a straight edged knife, slice your noodles as fat or thin as you like.
1) Bring 8 cups of water to a boil
2) Transfer the noodles to the boiling water and cook until they float, just a few minutes
3) Remove noodles from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a strainer
4) Shake off excess moisture and dust with finely chopped herbs
For more Eat Like a Martian:
practice for Mars on Earth
Banana beer from Born on Mars
And Liz, in Glory on Mars, tries to make bhang, though she doesn’t have all the ingredients.