This article focuses on a Jamaican food item that is among the most craved things by repeat tourists and travelers or so-called “J-americans.” Any guesses? You might expect Jamaica’s most iconic dish, Jerk and its National Dish, ackee and saltfish, both of which our eco resort has published articles about. Jamaican Jerk is available in most major cities and it’s also relatively easy to recreate with quality chicken, prepared Jerk paste and a little grilling finesse. And, while the salty unagi of ackee and saltfish is unique and delicious, it’s an unlikely hankering for foodies who can satisfy their palate similar textures and tastes. No, to the experienced tourist the island is more likely to romance over something that’s reminiscent of Jamaica’s wholesome traditional foods than what’s available back home. A flatbread called Bammy has been a staple food for most of the last 400 years **first mention of cassava flour.” Paleo diets have made cassava flour popular lately, but Bammy is relatively unknown to anyone that hasn’t been to Jamaica, and unfortunately also to many that have. In brief Bammy is the Jamaican analog to Naan, Pita, Tortilla, traditional flatbread.
This article is going to break down:
- What is Bammy?
- The Brief History of The Bammy Bread
- Ingredients in Bammy
- How Bammy Bread Is Made
What Is Bammy?
Bammy is a traditional cassava flour flatbread. Cassava flour is gluten-free, and so it is with Bammy. Cassava cultivation and Bammy flatbread were a preparation that descended from people called the Arawaks / Taino. The Arawaks were descendants of Mesoamericans that occupied islands that sank into modern day Caribbean 10,000 years ago. They were Jamaica’s original inhabitants. They prepared a staple bread food that is incredibly similar to what is available in Jamaica today. In the present day, Bammy is sold in stores by street vendors in Jamaica and abroad.
A Little History of The Bammy Bread
After World War II, cheaper, imported, subsidized foreign wheat all but eliminated cassava. Wheat-based bread where less expensive than cassava based bammy which was a more labor intensive substitute for conventionally harvested wheat. How does cassava fit into an eco-system. Bammy was the bread staple for rural Jamaicans until flour breads became prevalent. In the 1990s, the United Nations and the Jamaican government together established a program to revive the Bammy production, making it again a prominent part of the Jamaican diet. Today Bammy is again widely available in open air markets, shops and grocery stores.
What is Cassava and How is Cassava Flour Made?
Bammy is actually made from bitter cassava, which is referred to as both yuca and manioc in the American Indian cultures. Yuca (yoo-cuh) is often confused with Yucca, which is the family of stemless mostly ornamental succulents that thrive is arid desert landscapes.
Cassava is finely grated, ground, rinsed and dried to make flour. In the past the ground cassava wrapped in linen or finely woven cloth which was in turn weighted with heavy
stones to press out moisture. While the ground cassava was still damp it was then beaten into a mortar into a fine four texture. Salt is also added to the end result for added taste. Cassava flour is one of many culinary uses of cassava, which includes Tapioca Pearls and Starch, which are the remnant starches that remain after the soak water of grated cassava has evaporated. The remaining starch can be ground for tapioca starch or simply be granulated, boiled and dried to make tapioca pearls.
What is Bammy Made From? Ingredients
Bammy is simply cassava flour, salt, water.
How Bammy Bread Is Made
How Bammy bread is made actually varies throughout different parts of Jamaica. On a casual note, Bammy bread is usually created by spreading a handful of the flour evenly in a baking ring on a flat iron or griddle onto an open fire. While the Bammy bread is baking, the top of the bread will be patted with a flat board and then turned over. The actual baking process takes around three minutes, in which the final product will be a moderately thin, circular bread about ten inches in diameter.
Prior to serving: heat Bammy on medium high in fry pan a dash of curry infused oil; scant pinch of coarse sea salt.
As good as the Bammy bread sounds, many of you will want to know the nutrition facts and the breakdown of really, what’s inside this wonderful flatbread. Bammy nutritional facts for 1 slice:
|Total Fat||0 g||Potassium||0 mg|
|Saturated||0 g||Total Carbs||17 g|
|Polyunsaturated||0 g||Dietary Fiber||2 g|
|Monounsaturated||0 g||Sugars||0 g|
|Trans||0 g||Protein||1 g|
Bread is the often the foundation of a meal, and Bammy is a traditional, convenient and healthy bread.