Yuca fries a Latin American treat that’s a great alternative to French fries.
Yuca Fries Inspiration
I first came across yuca living in Chicago. I always saw the long, brown waxy looking tubers in the Hispanic Market I shopped at and wondered what in the hell is that. Finally I asked one of the workers who was Colombian and he explained that it was a starch that made for great fries. He gave me a basic recipe and I made it a few days later. The fries were a hit and I’ve been making my own version ever since. More recently I visited Colombia (Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena) and had yuca fries as an appetizer for what seemed like every meal.
What Is Yuca?
Also known as “cassava”, Yuca is popular in African and Latin countries as a side dish or appetizer.. Yuca is very similar to sweet potatoes in terms of shape and to a certain degree texture. However, when cooked as fries, yuca frites are cut thicker which makes it easier to get that crispy surface area with a soft flesh. Yuca is pretty starchy and dried and ground cassava is basically tapioca as in the pudding or those bubble pearl teas. It’s pretty versatile and can be used pretty much however you would a potato. Check out a few usage suggestions.
What does it look like?
Yuca looks like a long potato but with a bark-like skin with scales. The skin is usually covered in a wax like substance. The flesh is a chalky white.
Where does it come from?
Yuca is found all year round and grows in tropical and subtropical regions around the world but mostly in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. In the Caribbean its as common as plantains.
What it tastes like
The taste profile is in the same vein as potatoes, but has a slightly nuttier and mildly sweet flavor. It’s very starchy with a meaty flesh that I’d characterize as dense. Because of this density, yuca fries are best when boiled first.
Is Yuca low carb?
Yuca actually is pretty high in carbs, so though its a great energy source, you will not see it on any low-carb or keto menus. Nutritionally it is a good for you as its low in cholesterol, fat, and sodium. Checkout these nutritional details.
Where to buy Yuca?
I live in Texas where there are markets focused on hispanic customers all over the state. Yuca has become mainstream enough that you can find it in most produce sections for regular grocery stores. They’re either near the plantains/bananas or potatoes.
How to make yuca fries
Yuca fries are easy to make, but require a few more steps than French fries.
- Definitely, peel the skin. You’ll need a good vegetable peeler or really sharp paring knife
- Cut into thick cuts. Think steak fries. Try this video tutorial for help.
- Par-Boil the cut yuca before frying to remove excess starch and soften up the very tough yuca. Both are important to get the ideal texture; without this step the exterior will burn long before the interior is properly cooked. Note though its easier to cut yuca that’s been boiled first, you actually end up with better fries by cutting first. Trust me, I’ve tried both. Follow these directions for cutting.
- Under no circumstances should you substitute frozen yuca for fresh. You will get dried up, stringy yuca fries.
- No need to double fry. Yuca fries only require one take.
- Serve as a side with delicious Colombian Stew
What to serve with yuca fries
You can serve yuca fries as you would regular French fries, I.e. with ketchup or Belgian style mayo. If you’re a fan of the ketchup route, indulge me and try this Cuban Ketchup. It’s highly addictive and is da shiznit! But seriously don’t overthink the condiment thing. Go as simple as lime juice or as complex as a chimichurri sauce. At the end of the day any of your favorite sauces will compliment the yucca fries.
making yuca fries
If you make these delicious, fluffy fries please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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- 1½ lb fresh yuca
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable or Canola Oil for frying
- Place the yuca in a medium pot and cover it with enough water. Add the garlic and season with salt to taste. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil on high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until it's tender.
- Drain the yuca and let it cool on a cutting board. Once it has cooled, pat dry it with a paper towel and cut it into thick pieces.
- Fry the yuca at 350ºF for about 3-5 minutes or until they're golden brown. Then take them out of the oil and drain them on paper towels.
- Season them with salt to taste and serve immediately with your favorite sauce.