Yuca Frita - Fried Manioc (Cassava)

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Yuca frita is fried yucca. The correct pronounciation is "yoo-ka", not "yuck-a". Yucca is also known as manioc or cassava and is very, very easy to make. Yucca has been a staple of the South American diet for thousands of years. Actually... it's eaten all over the world! Like potatoes, it's a starch and very filling but it is much more flavorful. Traditionally, yucca was eaten boiled but over the centuries people took to frying it too.

Cut the raw yucca into 1-inch thick sticks.

In all parts of Bolivia yuca frita is served as a side dish, usually with grilled meat dishes, especially at barbecues (churrascos). NO churrasco is complete without fried yucca. People complain if it's not available. It's like charred meat and yuca frita MUST be served together otherwise your churrasco is just incomplete.

In Andean Bolivia (the Western half of the country), fried yucca is usually served in much the same way as you would serve french fries - as a side with grilled chicken or hamburgers. In Tropical (Eastern) Bolivia, fried yuca is a natural accompaniment to churrascos and generally people serve it with pickled red onions (sort of like relish in the US, only pink - not green). You scoop up the red onion "relish" with a chunk of fried yucca and eat them together. It's so scrumptious!

Yuca frita is so tasty, so popular all over the world and so easy to make. Here's a video someone else made so you can see the process. Written instructions are below the video.

Notice to kids: please do NOT make this recipe without adult supervision. It requires burning hot oil and is very dangerous!

Yucca is a tuber (root) with a very tough outer bark. You simply wash off the dirt and slice the outer bark off with a knife. Then wash the yucca again and cut it into sticks (much the same as carrot or celery sticks) but slightly thicker.

(Your local supermarket may have yucca in the freezer section, in which case it's already peeled and cut into chunks).

Fry the yuca sticks in very hot oil.

In a pot of boiling water, boil your yucca pieces for about 30 minutes. You want the yucca to be soft enough to insert a fork easily, but not so soft that it becomes mushy or falls apart. It should be firm enough to keep its stick shape when fried.

After you've removed your boiled yucca from the water, put it into a strainer and allow it to drain and cool down enough to touch. In the center, you'll find a cord-like stem. Remove it. Notice how your yucca, which used to be white, now has a light yellowish color?

Heat a pan of oil (about 2 inches deep) to 375 degrees (use a cooking thermometer). Then, simply fry the yucca sticks in the oil until golden brown (about 10 minutes).

Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain the excess fat. Immediately sprinkle with salt before the oil dries off (is absorbed). Fried yucca should be served immediately, and hot - as it will be crunchy on the outside and nice and soft and fluffy on the inside.

If your yucca is not nice and fluffy and soft on the inside you either sliced it too thin and it fried all the way through or you fried it for too long and it fried all the way through.

Once the yuca frita has cooled, it doesn't warm again very well. It absorbs the oil and become soft and limp. You can certainly refrigerate left overs, but instead of warming them up in a microwave, I suggest placing them on a cookie sheet and re-warming in the oven so they regain their nice crunchy exterior.

13 May 2019

Bolivian Snacks | Food Home Page | Bolivia for Kids