Malanga (Xanthosoma)

Xanthosoma tuberAlso known as Melanga, Otoy, Otoe, New Cocoyam, Tannia, Tannier, Yautia, Macabo, Taioba, Dasheen, Quequisque, or Singapore Taro, the Malanga is a popular cuisine in many countries around the world.  This plant has soft, arrow-shaped leaves up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) long. The large leaves sprout from from an underground stem.  The tuber (root) can be of considerable size with some weighing from 1/2 to 2 pounds.  The root is covered with a shaggy, brown skin.  Its flesh can be yellow, beige, or pink.

Where to Find: This plant grows widely in the Caribbean region. Look for it in open, sunny fields.

Xanthosoma plantsEdible Parts: The tubers are rich in starch. Remove the leaves and lift the cormels from the soil.  The root has a tough brown and shaggy patch thin skin on the outside and reddish, beige, or yellowish flesh on the inside.  Some are long while others are curvy.  Clean and cook them before eating to destroy a poison contained in all parts of the plant.  They have the nutritional value comparable to a potato but are easier to digest.  Malanga is very high in calories and a good source of riboflavin and thiamine.  Taste is similar to a potato.

A secondary use is consumption of the young leaves, similar to spinach.

Malanga plants

Xanthosoma leaf

Malanga tubers (roots)

Color drawing of Xanthosoma plant

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