Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cassava / Yuca Fries


If you have never tasted cassava, then you need to find it, cook it, and eat it.  It is a root vegetable and it is silky smooth with a slightly sweet and bitter taste.  To be honest, there is nothing else that tastes like it.  It has the texture of a baked potato and is very fibrous. It is also the main ingredient in one of Guyana's popular baked goods, cassava pone, you can find a picture here.  I am a huge cassava lover so when the idea popped into my head to make these cassava fries, I couldn't wait to share the recipe with you. 

I first had these delicious fries at a Cuban restaurant back in New York City near where I was living at the time.  I fell in love with them instantly.  There is something so authentic about eating yuca fries at a Cuban restaurant in America.  Just when you think your dish was accidentally served with potato shoe strings, you take a bite and realize there is no comparison.  

Chop cassava with skin on, into 3 inch widths, make a shallow cut into the skin and gradually work your knife under the pink layer of skin to remove it.  Or you could just buy the pre-peeled frozen cassava in the freezer section of your grocery store. 

I had to boil this cassava for about 30 minutes, pierce cassava with a fork to check for tenderness.  You want the cassava to have a slight give to it when pierced with a fork, if it is too soft, it will fall apart when cutting it into shapes for the fries.  Once boiled, remove each piece with a slotted spoon and place on a thick layer of paper towels to dry.  Remove the thick fibrous part in the center of the cassava. 

  For softer fries, cut them slightly thicker. For crunchier fries, cut them thinner. 

You do not need to deep fry here.  A shallow fry will work just fine, this simply means not having as much oil in the pan as you would for deep frying.  Heat to 325 degrees and fry till golden brown, season immediately so that seasonings can stick well to the fries. 

Tender and soft on the inside, crisp and crunchy on the outside! 


Cassava / Yuca Fries 
Ingredients
  • 3lbs cassava/yuca root (you can also buy the frozen kind to save peeling time)
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • Salt and your choice of seasoning: black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder 
Directions
  1. Chop cassava with skin on, into 2-3in widths, 3inches is good for longer fries. 
  2. Make a shallow cut in the cassava skin and insert knife underneath to lift skin off all the way around.
  3. Rinse cassava and set aside. 
  4. Bring a pot with enough water to a boil, add cassava and boil for 20-30 minutes, until cassava is soft, but still has a give when pierced with a fork.  You don't want he cassava to be to soft, otherwise it will be hard to cut into sticks. 
  5. Using a slotted spoon, remove each piece of cassava from water and place on a thick layer of tissue to dry out (about 8-10min).
  6. Cut into desired size, for crunchier fries, cut them thinner, and for softer fries cut them slightly thicker. 
  7. Heat oil to 325 degrees and fry in batches until golden brown. 
  8. Season with your desired spices.  I served mine with ketchup, but a friend of mine recommended it with mango sour.  Delicious!




8 comments:

  1. You make me hungry! I'm Guyanese living on the tiny island of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea. They're not a big cassava eating people, which is weird because they eat all the other root veggies we eat in Guyana, save for maybe eddoes. They substitute that with Dasheen, I like to call it eddo cousin :)

    I did however found cassava in the Supermarket on Sunday and will endeavour to try your recipe. Wish me luck. Keep posting, I'll keep following. BTW, your coo up rice looked slamming!

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  2. Hi GT Girl! Thats funny that you call dasheen the edoes cousin LOL!! Good luck with the recipe, let me know if you have any questions!

    Thanks for visiting!

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  3. I'm sad to report that I didn't have much luck with the cassava. In fact I didn't have any. It had what looked like mildew stains running through the whole thing :( :( I think I really have to make a trip to Guyana soon and pack a box of the goodies I love but cannot either get here, or it's not of the same quality. I can't even find hot peppers for the last two months! Not even Scotch Bonnet which is quite popular here. So, I'm cooking with the pepper sauce my Mom sent me at Christmas. Bless her soul!

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  4. That's so crazy that you can't find cassava in Grenada?!!?! Is it not the season for peppers? What is going on there?! lol. Also I'm glad you didn't use the cassava b/c those stains are signs of a rotting cassava root.

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  5. Oh I so know that rotting sign. I grew up near the market in the village in Plaisance on the East Coast and if I dare brought home any rotten cassava when Mom sent me to the market I had to take it back, get a refund of her money and find another vendor for proper ones.

    You would not believe how this 'Isle of Spice' is lacking a lot spices. I hate grocery shopping here because I could hardly find what I want, then it's not the brands I'm used to and the troubles go on. But I make do with what I have. Last night I made pholourie and fried chicken for dinner. Well it was a baked fried chicken, lol. Confused huh? Hubby and I baked a whole chicken on Monday night and I wasn't too happy with how 'white' it came out so last night I brought the left overs out, dipped it in a bit of the pholourie mix made a bit watery with a dash of extra water and that was my batter. I then fried it and the golden brown colour had me pecking at i before I was ready to dish!

    Re: peppers. Believe it or not, a lot of the vegetables...as a matter of fact food we get in Grenada is imported. You therefore can imagine what the cost of living here is like. Thank heavens for a decent pay check coupled with my husbands!

    Will try and make the vermicelli over the weekend since he has beef stew plans for tonight.

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  6. Oh gosh, I didn't even realize that you made yucca fries too.

    How are you?

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  7. My husband is Venezuelan and we are loving your recipes!! God Bless you! You are an amazing chief and photographer!!

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    1. Hi Danielle,

      Thanks so much, I'm glad you're enjoying the recipes! I'm just a home cook though, no chef :)

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