One of my favorite tubers (I never tried yuca until I moved to Dominican Republic) is Sweet Yuca (jooka). It is also known as Manioc or cassava root. When it is cooked and prepared just right it has a subtle sweetness that is just right. Here are some simple recipes for cooking up some yuca.
Yuca is a brown to black skinned tuber sometimes it is covered with wax to preserve it. Pealing yuca can be a bit of a hassle but it is well worth the trouble. Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Cut it into smaller sections to make the peeling easier. Cut off the ends of the tuber. Remove the brownish black outside layer and also the pink inside layer (it is pink on the outside and white on the inside) that is between the brown outside layer and the tasty flesh that you will be cooking. When you get going with the outer skin removal it is easy to get a long slice in the skin and try to remove the outside in one long piece. After peeling place the pieces in water to preserve their color.
*For more information and the history of yuca go to the Grown in Dominican Republic page about Yuca/ Cassava.
To cook Boiled Yuca cut the yuca pieces into about 3 to 4 inch lengths and cut the pieces in half lengthwise, or in quarters if they are really fat.
Place these pieces in a pot covering them with water to which you add some salt or you can flavor with some stock or bouillon for a different taste.
Bring the water to a boil in an uncovered pot then turn down the heat to keep the water at a simmer.
Stir them occasionally so they don’t stick to the pot and to boil them uniformly.
When you can stick a knife in these pieces and the knife slips out easily (about 1 hour or so) remove them from the heat.
Leave them in the hot water until you are ready to serve (if you are going to store them for later or have leftovers store them in this same water – they will last about 3 days in the fridge).
Some of the yuca will have hard centers which you can easily remove once they are cooked.
They are wonderful served with sautéd onions (red are the best and prettiest for this dish) on top.
Place on your plate, put into your mouth and enjoy!
You prepare the yuca as above but cook a little longer until they are falling apart and are really mushy.
Place in a pan and mash them up (the texture might not be really smooth but don’t worry, lumpy yuca is acceptable) using the stock or milk as you like and a little salt.
Adding some garlic into the mix really livens up the flavor.
When making yuca fries do the same preparation method as above but leave the pieces a little firm so they are not mushy when you fry them. I ilke to do Yuca Fried with left-over yuca.
Do just as you would making french fried potatoes.
Dry the pieces on a towel so they are not all wet and cause the oil to spatter.
Cut the yuca into strips.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or a sauté pan or you can just bake them in the oven at a medium temperature.
Add the pieces a little at a time and fry until they are the desired crispness and golden brown.
Drain on paper and serve.
This is my favorite way to eat them.
To make Yuca Chips peal and slice the uncooked yuca into round slices (just like potato chips) as thin as you can possibly get them.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer or pot to around 375°F.
Drop the slices into the oil one at a time so they don’t stick together. Do not crowd these little chips. Make sure you give them room to cook freely.
Turn them as needed until they are a firm golden brown (1 to 2 minutes).
Remove and drain.
Add some salt, garlic salt or just eat plain.
These little crispy pieces of yuca are a great snack treat.