Ablo Yoki Cassava Bread

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Ablo Yoki

Ablo yoki is a traditional bread from Benin made from cassava. The root is peeled, ground, formed into a cylinder and wrapped in banana or thalia leaves, then steam-cooked over a fire in a canari (a traditional terracotta vessel). The airtight seal and the total evaporation of water from the canari are essential to making good ablo yoki. The bread is eaten on its own or with palm oil or nuts, grilled peanuts, coconut or abobo (a seasoned mix of beans and cooking water). Ablo yoki is recognized as a flavorful food, very filling and a good source of energy.   The invention of ablo yoki reflects the ingenuity of Benin’s inhabitants, who make the most of cassava. This tuber is typically found in tropical zones and is abundant in Benin. Ablo yoki is just one of the many dishes made from cassava, but the other cassava-based foods are not at risk of extinction. Ablo yoki is made throughout southern Benin and is mainly found for sail in rural areas, but also in some cities like Porto-Novo and Cotonou.   Preparing ablo yoki requires very specific knowledge, and it must be carefully tended to during the multi-step cooking process. Today, people prefer easier to make foods and are losing an interest in traditional cooking recipes and techniques, and consider these traditional foods as “poor” foods.

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