Leaving the Ivory Coast witout tryin Attiéké would be sorely missing out !
But what is Attiéké at all ?
Aah, that semolina sitting - oh so!- heavy on the stomach, its very distinct flavor!
We taste it, making a face, far from convinced. Moreso when people tell you it may or may not be toxic !
But once reassured, there is not other option than asking for more !
Attiéké , it seems, can translate as: "The family head’s or the village chieftain’s portion, kept for the meal following the guests’ departure", which frankly is, like its food counterpart, quite the mouthful.
Today though, Attiéké is the favorite 100% ivorian side dish.
The manufacturing process is really demanding, manioc being the foremost ingredient.
The manioc is peeled and cut, before being shipped to the cooperatives handling the Attiéké production.
Fresh out of their packing, it gets crushed, either manually or mechanically.
The machines need some help.
The crushing yields a purée, which is then mixed to an older fermented manioc paste.
Then it is let to ferment two days more.
This fermenting process is quite similar to the leaven found in bread, except for one crucial part : thanks to the process, the cyanhydric acid found in manioc is removed (the famous toxic molecule).
The paste is then spin-dried, sifted, winnowed, and will, in the end, look like semolina.
Steamed, this semolina will aquire its distinctivly soft and a bit sticky texture. It’s packed right after, and sold as balls (a portion being enough for any decently starving customer) for a price ranging from 100 CFA Francs (0.15€) out in the street, and 500 CFA Francs (0,75€) in the maquis (local snacks and restaurants)
The sour taste is only fully appreciated when serve with a "sauce graines" (with palm seeds), a "sauce mafé" (groundnut) or even with the simple tomato-onion sauce it’s usually served with.
And -that- loyal readers, is Attiéké.