Bammy: Our Favorite Jamaican Flatbread

Although a flatbread by definition, bammy can be easily confused for a cake, pancake, or even crispy fried cutlets. It’s known by many names such as bammy cake, cassava cake, and Jamaican cassava, which also speaks of its versatility in different culinary applications.

What is Bammy?

Bammy, the unique Jamaican flatbread, is prepared from shredded, pressed, and powdered cassava root. It was first produced by Arawaks, the earliest Jamaican inhabitants before World War II when cheaper bread options like wheat and barley were uncommon. Much later, wheat bread took over for classic cassava bread, but the Jamaicans could never forget its distinctive flavor. In the late 1990s, the Jamaican government, in collaboration with the United Nations, started the “bammy revival” campaign where it was reintroduced to the market as a modern food. As a result of this campaign, today, bammy can be seen in abundance on the streets, stores, and restaurants all over Jamaica. 

Image Credit: Flickr user Sambones ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

What does Bammy taste like?

Bammy is mild, slightly sweet, and nutty in flavor. However, the unique texture is the spotlight of this flatbread with a crisp exterior and tender interior. Texture-wise, it doesn’t resemble conventional bread, rather it’s similar to potato cutlets, but delicate and neutral in flavor. Bammy makes a perfect side for flavor-packed Jamaican fish dishes.

The Best Bammy Recipe

Image Credit: Flickr user stetted ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Bammy has been traditionally prepared by grating fresh cassava followed by pressing to eliminate most of its moisture content. The pressed cassava is then ground into either a semi-solid pulp or made into a fine cassava powder. The dough is then shaped into a flat circle and cooked on a griddle until toasted from both sides. The toasted bammy is then soaked into coconut milk, and further cooked on a griddle until it takes on a golden hue. Besides cooking on a griddle, the coconut milk-soaked bammy can be fried, baked, grilled, or steamed, depending on personal preference. 

What to Eat with Bammy?

In Jamaica, bammy is traditionally paired with fish dishes, one of which is Escovitch fish. This dish is a flavorful combination of spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet flavors in which crispy fried snapper is topped with a zesty Escovitch sauce prepared with an array of vegetables, and seasonings. Besides, bammy is best paired with other Caribbean dishes like Jerk Salmon, Jerk Chicken, and Callaloo.

 Bammy is a versatile bread that can be eaten as a part of breakfast, as well as lunch, or dinner. Bammy, owing to its pancake-like appearance, can work well as an alternative to french toasts, pancakes, or waffles. Just drizzle your bammy with maple syrup and toss some fresh berries or nuts on top for a bammy breakfast. People residing in Jamaica also like to savor bammy with their afternoon tea or coffee. 

Bammy can be used in the same way tortillas, pita, and other types of flatbreads are used. Looking out for some nontraditional recipe ideas using bammy? Well, here are a few modern recipes you can try using bammy as the base.

●      Jackfruit Tacos

●      Jerk Chicken Lettuce Wraps

●      Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple

Feature Image: Flickr user purpleglobetrotterCC BY-ND 2.0 )

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