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Recipe: Chapana (Peruvian cassava dessert)

This is not a super well-know Peruvian dessert but is as authentic as it can get. In fact, apparently it’s been around for way longer than the popular desserts that appeared when we were a Spanish colony.

I’m usually biased toward chocolate when it comes to sweets, but this is an exception. I think this is in part because there are childhood memories attached to chapana. I recently learned this is one of my father-in-law’s favourite desserts, too. I guess we have more in common that what I thought 🙂

Frozen grated cassava

Chapana is made with grated yuca (cassava), chancaca (basically cane sugar that has been boiled and solidified in a block) and aniseed. It’s wrapped in banana leaves and after cooking it acquires a chewy consistency. Grating cassava is a pain in the ass, so when I found frozen cassava in an ethnic shop (can’t remember which) I bought it immediately with cassava in mind. I used coconut sugar instead of chancaca for a hipster version (and also because I don’t know where to buy chancaca in Sydney!), adjusted the ratio (usually 1:1) to make it less sweet and did my best in wrapping the parcels (I’m very sloppy with that kind of things).



Chapana is a traditional dessert from the jungle of Peru made with grated yuca (cassava) as the main ingredient.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 4


  • kitchen twine


  • 450 g frozen grated cassava
  • 200-225 g coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp aniseed
  • banana leaves


  • Thaw cassava in the fridge overnight.
  • Wipe the banana leaves clean.
  • In a bowl, mix cassava, coconut sugar and aniseed.
  • Divide mix in 4 parts and wrap each in banana leaves in a rectangular pillow-like parcels, wrapping the leaf over itself in 2-3 layers without breaking it if possible.
  • Tie the parcels with kitchen twine.
  • Fill a pot with enough water to cover the parcels and bring to a boil.
  • Pop the parcels in the pot and boil for 30 minutes.
  • Fish the parcels out of the water and let cool down enough to unwrap and enjoy.
  • Chapana is usually eaten warm, although some people enjoy it cold or at room temperature.
Keyword cassava, dessert, Peruvian cuisine, Peruvian food, yuca

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