Monday, July 16, 2007

Yuca, Not Yucca

I recently saw an episode of Daisy Cooks, where she makes meat-filled fried dumplings with yuca. Yes, that's yuca, not yucca.

Having never cooked with yuca before, I paid attention to the directions Daisy gave as she cooked. First, use a peeler to take the bark-like skin off the vegetable. It peels like a carrot, but it cooks like a potato. When it's fried, though, it reminds me of rice-battered dim sum. Much lighter tasting than a potato.

Next, it's important to boil it first before doing anything else with it because yuca contains cyanide. Don't worry, though. Once you cook it, it's not a problem.

After it boils for a bit, the yuca breaks down, and you can see the fibers that hold it together. Take note of the fibers because you'll need to pull them out later.

After I drained the boiled yuca, I mashed it up like a potato. I added a variety of spices, especially salt.

Really does look like mashed potatoes, doesn't it?

Because I don't cook meat, I decided to stuff my yuca fritters with either montasio or mozzarella cheese and some fresh basil. There's a technique to doing this.

First, plop some of the mashed yuca in the palm of your hand and use the back of your spoon to make an indentation for your stuffing.

Then, place the stuffing in the middle of the indentation and pull the yucca around it to cover it completely.

The stuffed yuca should look like this:

Next, deep fry the yuca dumplings in hot vegetable oil. I tend to use grapeseed oil most often.

When they're golden brown, take them out of the oil and let them drain and cool slightly on paper towels. Then, enjoy!


rebelBodhi said...

looks delicious, ill give it a shot

Tropical Foodies said...

Amazing, how versatile yuca is!