Cuban Yuca Recipe - How to Make Boiled Yucca (Cassava)
recipe courtesy of Omar Flores
Yuca, or cassava, is a root that has long been a
staple of Cuban cooking. You can find canned or frozen yuca at Latin
grocery stores, but nothing is better than cooking it from scratch.
If you can't find it in stores, you can
buy it online.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
3 fresh yuca (cassava)
4 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Before peeling and cleaning the yuca, add at least four
inches of cold water to a pot or large saucepan. Peeled and grated potatoes
will oxidize and change color if you leave them out too long, and yuca will do
the same. So after you clean each piece of yuca, keep the pieces you've
prepared in cold water as you finish peeling and slicing the others.
Rinse each piece of yuca off. Take your first piece of Yuca,
and cut the ends off. Cut the yuca in half, so that each half can be turned
upright and stand by itself. Standing each piece up will make it easy for you
to slice downward with a knife, and cut the skin off.
Use a sharp kitchen knife to slice downward and cut the skin
off of each piece. If you're a bit more skilled with a kitchen knife, you can
remove the peel in just one piece. At the bottom of this page there's a
video showing it done. When the skin is off, keep the piece of yuca
upright, and cut it down the middle so that it is in two pieces. Then cut it
down in the middle again, so that you have four pieces. Place the pieces in the
cold water, and prepare the remaining yuca.
Once all the cleaned and peeled yuca are in the pot or
saucepan, make sure that there's just enough water so that the pieces are
entirely covered. Bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat. Once the water
comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer on low for 30 minutes or
until tender. When the yuca is finished, remove from heat and drain the water.
Add the oil to a small skillet or frying pan over medium
heat. Add the garlic and salt. Stir occasionally for about five minutes, then
reduce the heat to the lowest setting. You will want the garlic to become soft
and fragrant, but you don't want it very brown.
At this point, the boiled yuca should be cool enough for you
to remove the "core" from each piece. The center of the yuca root contains a
tough core, but once boiled, you should be able to easily remove it from each
piece like a string. Some people cut around the core before cooking, but
removing it after means not cutting out more than needed. On each piece, the
core will be on the "corner" that was once the center of the root.
After removing the cores, place the yuca back into its
original pot or pan. Pour the lemon juice over the yuca. Give the garlic olive
oil mix a final stir, then pour it over the yuca. Toss the yuca so that it is
well coated in the mix.
This recipe yields 4-5 servings.
Optional Cooking Methods:
This recipe is for a traditional boiled yuca with a mix of
olive oil, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. But instead of using that mix, you
can also pour mojo sauce over the boiled yuca pieces.
Another option is to pour the olive oil mix or mojo over the yuca pieces, and
lightly brown them over medium high heat.
Here's a nice video from Flor, a Peruvian
cook. Unlike this recipe, Flor cuts the yuca into three pieces
before peeling (which is fine even in Cuban cooking). But she cuts
the peeled root into two halves, whereas you want to cut them one
more time into fourths for Cuban-style yuca.