Yuca, yucca root, or cassava is native to Brazil and the tropical areas of the Americas. It’s widely grown all over Latin America and the Caribbean and is essential in Caribbean cuisine. It is a brown root about two inches in diameter and eight inches in length. The flesh is white, starchy, and fibrous. Because yuca bruises easily, it is found with a waxy, protective coating applied. It is easy to peel with a regular vegetable peeler. Peel yuca one at a time and immediately immerse in cold water to prevent the white flesh from discoloring. Yuca can be cooked in a variety of ways including boiling, baking, and frying. The key to cooking yuca is to cook it long enough to break down the fibrous tissue. I chose to make fries with my yuca with a chipotle aioli dipping sauce. This is definitely not the traditional sauce but it's what I chose. Yuca fries require cooking twice like good French fries, except with yuca fries, the first cooking is by boiling. If you don't par-cook the yuca before frying, the outside will be burned before the inside will be cooked. Perfect yuca fries will have a crispy exterior and creamy interior. I have eaten yuca in the Caribbean and have cooked them once before, so when I saw them in the market today, I knew I had to get some. Here they are draining on paper towels after boiling but before frying. They are still a bit stringy here and not done yet. That is exactly the way you want them. You can also peel the yuca, cook it whole, then cut into fries after cooling. I did some research and decided that cutting them into fries before boiling was the way to go. The yuca itself is rather bland and tasteless but makes the perfect vehicle for salt and a spicy sauce.
- [i ]For the fries:[/i ]
- 3 medium sized yuca roots
- oil for flying
- For the sauce:
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1-2 TBS chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 TBS red chili paste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Pulse in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Peel the yuca with a vegetable peeler one at a time, placing them in cold water in between. Cut each section of yuca root into French fry sized pieces and return to the cold water. Yuca fries are typically thick cut. Drain and rinse the yuca then place in a medium saucepan and cover with alter water. bring to a boil and cook until the yuca is fairly soft. You should be able to slip a knife into one buit they should not be mushy. Drain the yuca fries in a colander and place on paper towel in a single layer. Let the yuca dry out and cool completely. Pour enough oil to come up two inches up the side in a deep pot. Heat the oil to 325 degrees. Using a spider or a slotted spoon place the fries in batches into the hot oil. Cook until slightly golden brown, remove from oil, salt, and drain on paper towels.You can keep the first batches warm in the oven until all the fries are cooked.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce.