Arracacha Rolls

MAKES: 50 Rolls
Arracacha rolls
  • 300g (2 cups) sour manioc starch
  • 200g (2 cups) sweet manioc starch
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 500g arracacha (sometimes called Peruvian carrot or Peruvian parsnip)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
2 Thoroughly wash the arracacha and cook them with the skin, until tender. This takes about 10 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, measure out the starches (after weighing, I also measured the volume: sour manioc starch is denser, which is why the same number of cups have different weights) and the salt. Place them in a bowl and set aside.
4 Drain the arracacha and set aside some of the cooking water. In a blender, combine the arracacha (with the skin), the oil and 1/3 cup of cooking water to form a smooth puree. If you don't have a blender, you can peel the arracacha and mash it with a fork.
5 Add the liquid mixture (there's no need to wait for it to cool) to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. The goal is to obtain a dough with a consistency like modelling clay — neither stiff nor gooey. If you can shape it into balls without them crumbling or sticking to your hands, then it's great. As the dough cools it will get firmer, so add a little water as you go to maintain the right consistency.
6 Shape the dough into tablespoon sized balls and place onto an ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2 cm of space between them. If preferred, you can freeze them to bake later. In this case you can place them in the oven directly, without defrosting.
7 Bake the rolls for 35 minutes.
If they haven't become golden on top by this time, increase the temperature to 250°C (480°F) and leave them to bake for a few more minutes. Just don't get distracted around the home like I do while they are in the oven...
8 When they come out of the oven, the rolls have a crispy and crumbly crust and are very soft inside. Delicious! If the rolls are baked for a shorter time (or rather, when they don't become brown on top), the crust loses its crispy texture when cooled, but they are still tasty.
1 This is a great option for lunch (and to tote in your bag), a snack, or even breakfast. I like to keep some of these in the freezer in case I receive a surprise visit.

About the ingredients:
  • The combination of arracacha and olive oil resembles the traditional taste of cheese bread, especially if the rolls are a bit salty. However, the same texture can be achieved using common potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taros, and the like.
  • If you substitute the olive oil with another type of oil, you could add 3 tablespoons of brewer's yeast. I haven't tested this ingredient yet, but it is fairly commonly used in recipes mimicking cheese.
  • I've also tried making this recipe using just sour manioc starch and I thought it turned out well. In any case, on the Laboratório dos Sentidos website, I read that sweet manioc starch makes the dough gooier, and the sour manioc starch makes the rolls rise more and become airier, but has a strong flavour.

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