Jamaican Bammy is a steamed, dense flatbread made from grated cassava (yucca, manioc), soaked in milk, and often fried to golden brown perfection. With a crispy exterior and a soft, tender center, it’s the perfect side dish for a variety of dishes. Enjoy it as a snack or serve it with fried or steamed fish and vegetables for a delicious Caribbean meal.
Jamaican bammy is a perfectly steamed traditional flatbread, that’s often fried in a skillet for a golden crispy exterior. You can bake, steam, or fry them; quite the versatile treat. Bammy is also super easy to make and requires only two ingredients – cassava and salt. This Jamaican staple was always in stock in my family kitchen growing up, so I hope you enjoy a little piece of my childhood!
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Jamaican Bammy Recipe
- Made from Scratch – although you can find pre-made bammy, nothing beats fresh homemade Jamaican bammy.
- So Versatile – serve it with a variety of foods as a yummy side dish.
- A Healthy Bread Alternative – naturally gluten-free and rich in fiber, making it a nutritious substitute for regular bread.
The History of Cassava/Bammy
Cassava was a key part of the diet of the Arawaks, the indigenous people of Jamaica, for centuries. After World War II, wheat flour became more prominent since it was cheaper to produce. However, the vegetable is still prominent in rural parts of Jamaica where it is produced and sold to the masses.
What is Cassava?
This popular Jamaican bread-like staple is not like traditional bread. It’s made from cassava, a starchy root vegetable. (Cassava is referred to as yucca in South America). Cassava is grated, then drained of its moisture. It is then soaked in water or milk, and seasoned with salt before it is baked, steamed, or fried to create bammy.
How to Peel Cassava
Use a sharp knife to cut off both ends of the cassava then remove the thick skin by slicing downwards (lengthwise), and using a lift and pull motion remove the skin. Then slice the vegetable in half or into three pieces, horizontally. Finally, remove the core (optional) and you are ready to grate it.
What Does Jamaican Bammy Taste Like?
There are two kinds of cassava, bitter and sweet. The sweet cassava is the kind used to make bammy. Cooked bammy is salty, slightly sweet, and a bit nutty flavoured. It tastes like a cross between a dense french fry and toasted bread.
How to Use the Starch from Cassava
The starch content in cassava is high so it can be used for a variety of things. After the cassava has been drained of its liquid, the starch eventually settles at the bottom. Discard the liquid but the starch can be placed on a plate and left out to dry.
When dry, cassava starch resembles cornstarch. It can be used to thicken soups and sauces but can also be used to iron clothes.
Equipment Needed to Make This Recipe
- Large Box Grater – grate the cassava into fine ground pulp.
- Round Ring Mold – to shape each Jamaican bammy.
- Spoon – used to press the cassava into the ring mold.
Jamaican Bammy Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- Cassava Root – approx. 4lbs, peeled and grated.
- Salt – as desired.
- Butter – used to grease the skillet and the ring mold.
- Milk – for soaking. You can use whole milk or a milk alternative like coconut milk.
- Neutral Oil – for frying.
How to Make Jamaican Bammy
Peel and Grate Cassava
Cut cassava into larger sized pieces, peel, then use a box grater to grate the cassava into a pulp.
Remove Liquid from Cassava
Place grated cassava into a cheesecloth or nut milk bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible and discard the liquid. Place dried cassava in a thin layer on a large baking sheet to air dry for about 30 minutes then sprinkled evenly and lightly with salt.
Mold and Cook Cassava
Lightly grease skillet and ring mold with butter over low heat and place the ring mold in the center of the pan. Add one cup of dried cassava pulp into the ring mold. Use the bottom of the measuring cup or a spoon to press down the cassava until tight and compacted approx. 1/2 inch thick. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes each side, carefully removing the ring mold and flipping at the halfway point.
How to Fry Jamaican Bammy
Soak bammy in milk for about 10 to 15 minutes, flipping at the halfway mark. Add oil to a skillet over medium high heat and fry bammy until golden brown on each side.
Recipe Substitutions and Tips
Here are two alternate ways to cook Jamaican bammy:
- Steam – pour 1/2 cup of milk into a skillet over low-medium heat. Then add the molded cassava, cover and let steam for approximately 10 minutes.
- Bake – place cassava on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350°F (177°C).
Serving Suggestions and Tips
Wondering what to eat with Jamaican bammy? I have a few ideas:
- Jamaican Escovitch Fish – crispy fried fish would pair perfectly with Jamaican bammy.
- Ackee and Saltfish – the national dish of Jamaica is another tasty option.
- Brown Stew Fish – soak up all that sauce with some bammy.
- Jamaican Callaloo – serve this bread with some leafy greens for a nutritious meal.
Recipe Notes and Tips for Success
- When selecting cassava, stick to ones that are blemish free and firm, without soft spots. If you find brown or black marks on the white flesh, the vegetable is no good.
- Do not consume the liquid drained from the cassava because it is toxic when raw.
- Don’t make the bammy too thin. It should be about one inch thick.
If you aren’t frying the cassava to make Jamaican bammy immediately, freeze it, otherwise it will turn sour. Store your cassava bread in an airtight container or ziploc bag lined with parchment paper then freeze it for up to 3 months.
Defrost them in the fridge before cooking.
To reheat bammies, wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can heat over the stovetop.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes. Cassava is rich in dietary fiber and iron, making it a nutritious alternative to traditional bread.
Jamaican bammy only includes two ingredients: cassava and salt.
Find bammy at an international grocery store or Caribbean market.
Watch My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Jamaican Jerk Pork
- Crispy Baked Jerk Tofu
- Jamaican Banana Fritters
- Cornmeal Pudding
- Bulla Cake
- Jamaican Escovitch Fish
- Homemade Tzatziki
- Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Ackee and Saltfish
- Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding
- Large Box Grater
- Round Ring Mold
- 4 med. Cassava Root approx. 4lbs, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp Salt or as desired
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup Milk for soaking
- Neutral Oil for frying
- Cut cassava into larger sized pieces, peel, then use a box grater to grate the cassava into a pulp. Place grated cassava into a cheesecloth or nut milk bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible and discard the liquid. Place dried cassava in a thin layer on a large baking sheet to air dry for about 30 minutes then sprinkled evenly and lightly with salt.
- Lightly grease skillet and ring mold with butter over low heat and place the ring mold in the center of the pan. Add one cup of dried cassava pulp into the ring mold. Use the bottom of the measuring cup or a spoon to press down the cassava until tight and compacted approx. 1/2 inch thick. Let cook for about 8-10 minutes each side, carefully removing the ring mold and flipping at the halfway point.
- Soak bammy in milk for about 10 to 15 minutes, flipping at the halfway mark. Add oil to a skillet over medium high heat and fry bammy until golden brown on each side.
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.