Before we left on our international road trip east, I had a little cooking marathon in my kitchen. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done that so it took a little longer than I wanted but in the end, these paleo malanga latkes lasted us through several days on our trip.
When we travel I usually pack a bag full of the necessities. But when we road trip (which has only been a few times the last few years) I add on a bag full of kitchen equipment, fresh ingredients, snacks and pre-made food.
Traveling With Basic Kitchen Equipment
When I say kitchen equipment, I’m not talking my food processor and a blender. I’m actually referring to just a hand full of items:
- My chef’s knife
- A small, basic bamboo cutting board
- My cast-iron combo cooker
- A medium to large size mixing bowl
- A wooden spoon
- My cast-iron cleaning/scraping tool
- Coarse ground sea salt
- Organic extra virgin olive oil
- Organic apple cider vinegar
- Some fresh greens and salad fixings including fresh, whole sweet onions and garlic
This time around, we picked up a cooler before leaving so I could cook a few dishes at home and bring them with us. Plus with all that added space I was able to bring a few more whole food ingredients than I mentioned above. Packing these items before we left saved me on time spent grocery shopping while we were out and about!
Along with a cooler, Jeff also thought it would make sense to bring along a propane stove so I could literally cook from anywhere along the road. (I prepared a meal in a gas station on our last road trip but having heat available would have definitely been useful.)
Upon the stove’s arrival we needed to then pick up some propane to power it, so we headed to the Korean grocery store and what did I find while roaming their fresh vegetable isle? Malanga!
What Is Malanga?
You might find that a weird introduction but let me tell you a quick little story. It’s a story inception! :)
Quick Story Time
Jeff & I went grocery shopping a while back. We were driving around to several different stores to pick up a few things at each place when I popped into the last store for some Topo Chico. Of course I detoured with a stop in the fresh vegetable isle and that’s when I spotted the sign for malanga root! I had yet to see it in stores in my area and was super excited to get a bunch.
I found it sitting near the ethnic outcast section, you know the place where all grocery stores have no idea what certain vegetables are, so they wind up lumping them all together in one place (whether it makes sense or not).
Well the malanga was sitting
next to intermingled with the horseradish and the taro root. I quickly identified the taro but for some reason couldn’t tell the difference between the malanga and the horseradish. (I had never seen such HUGE fresh horseradish before.) So I grabbed what I thought was malanga and brought it up to checkout with my bottles of Topo Chico. She didn’t know the difference between the two so we both thought nothing of it.
When I got home, I did a little more digging via a Google image search and realized I had indeed grabbed the wrong vegetable.
So why tell you this now? Because I want you to know what malanga really looks like and not make the same mistake!
Now Really, What Is Malanga?
Malanga is a root vegetable. It’s similar in consistency to taro root or the more familiar, white potatoes.
When you slice it open it has a spotty interior. See that image above? That’s really what it looks like, those aren’t just dead pixels. ;)
Similar to taro it can be a little sticky in your hands when working with it but that makes for an excellent ingredient to use to make latkes!
Similar To Potato Latkes
These paleo malanga latkes can be seasoned and created so many different ways. I made two different versions and that’s why the recipe below looks a little different than normal.
For the parsley latkes I seasoned them with cumin and sea salt and fried them in my cast-iron skillet in coconut oil. I wanted a snack/meal available that everyone in our party could eat and since I typically would fry these bad boys in lard, I needed to change it up to accommodate a friend we were traveling with who is vegetarian.
For the garlic & onion latkes I swapped the cumin for fresh minced garlic and onion along with extra seasoning from some garlic and onion powder. I cooked these in the leftover bacon fat I had available in the fridge but you could use lard, coconut oil or your favorite fat instead.
How Well Do They Keep?
I prepared a ginormous batch of these two types of latkes the night before we left, wrapped them in foil and packed them in the fridge followed by the cooler for the next 3 days. They warmed up great in the microwave of the first place we stayed in Detroit and surprisingly weren’t so great cold. So I’d highly recommend eating these warm, especially if it’s your first time trying malanga.
We shared them with several of our hosts along our road trip (both paleo and non-paleo eaters) and everyone preferred the garlic & onion over the parsley. But for those who can’t eat garlic, onion or both, I wanted to give you an alternative or somewhere to start. :)
When To Serve?
These paleo malanga latkes are pretty hardy and really can stand alone.
You can serve them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or even pack them as a quick snack, just remember you’ll want to warm them up before you eat them.
Give them a try if you’re looking for a new ingredient to spice up your life and let me know what you think!