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malanga

Pronunciation: [mah-LAHN-gah]

A large, dense and starchy potatolike tuber belonging to the same family as the taro root. There are several varieties of malanga, which is also known as new cocoyam, tannia and yautia. All have a long, tapered, uneven shape with skins that can range in color from reddish to yellowish brown. The flesh color varies from cream to pale yellow, though some varieties are a pale grayish purple. Because raw malanga can irritate the throat, this tuber should be peeled and cooked. The resulting flavor is earthy and somewhat nutlike. Handled properly, malanga is extremely easy to digest and touted as being very hypoallergenic. It's also dried and processed into flour, which is used as a substitute for wheat flour. Like taro root leaves, those of the malanga are called callaloo in the Caribbean. They're prepared and eaten like mustard or turnip greens or used in callaloo soup. Malanga can be found in Latin American markets and some specialty produce stores. Choose firm, smooth roots; refrigerate for up to 4 days. Much like the potato, the malanga may be prepared in a variety of ways including boiling, frying and baking.