Updated: Jan 5, 2021
Move over potatoes, there’s a new root vegetable in town.
Meet yuca- it’s like a potato, but make it ~foreign~. Yuca, the root of the cassava plant, is similar to that of a potato. It can be boiled, mashed, roasted, fried- basically anything you can do to a potato, you can do to yuca. This tropical root vegetable is an essential part of native life in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Its nutritional benefits include low cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium, and in its raw state, it's a good source of magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber. When compared to potatoes, yuca root is higher in calories, protein, and complex carbs. They also have a low glycemic index of only 46 while potatoes have a GI of 72-88, thus making them a great alternative to potatoes for diabetics.
And you thought potatoes were cool... ;)
As you can see, yuca has a rough, bark-like exterior. The first step in making yuca fries requires using a vegetable peeler to peel off this exterior.
After you have peeled the yuca, carefully slice it in half lengthwise. Next, cut the halves into three equal pieces. You should be left with 6 pieces of yuca. Rinse the pieces with water to remove any dirt and to keep it from discoloring.
Boil the yuca pieces for about 15 minutes or until fork tender.
Drain and let cool until you can touch it without burning yourself.
Once cooled, remove the inner stem from the pieces of yuca. Be sure not to miss any! Then, cut the pieces in half, or into thirds to make fries. Don't make them too thin, as they will fall apart. You want them to be on the thicker side.
Fry on medium-high heat until golden brown (about 5 minutes).
Once your fries are cooked, let them drain on paper towels and season with salt.
Enjoy with your favorite condiment or one of my favorites, Mojo Mayonnaise (recipe below).
1 cup good-quality mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice plus extra lime wedges for garnish
1 medium jalapeño chile ends trimmed and seeded
1 teaspoon honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
Combine mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and honey in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt if necessary.
Enjoy with your yuca fries!