Baked Yuca Fries Are Delicious!
Baked yuca fries are SO friggen delicious. In this post you’ll find a tasty baked yuca fries recipe… but first, let me tell you a little about yuca.
What is yuca?
Yuca (pronounced yoo-cuh) is a long, starchy, tuberous and tropical root-vegetable grown as a shrub in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and South America. You may have heard it referred to as cassava root, manioc yuca, manioc, manihot, mandioca, or eddoes.
Yuca, not yucca
Often, yuca is incorrectly referred to as yucca. Yuca is NOT the same as yucca. Yucca is a non-edible plant from the Agave plant family.
This vegetable is high in carbs, low in fat (an average-sized tuber has about 140 calories), and is prepared and served much like a potato. It has more fiber and slightly more potassium than a potato. Yuca also has moderately high levels of vitamin C and manganese.
Yuca and tapioca
Yuca is commonly used to make tapioca and tapioca flour – something I did not know before writing this post! I guess I never thought much about the source of tapioca before… probably because I am not a huge fan of it. Tapioca causes my body to have a cringe-reflex. Am I alone in this? Does anyone out there shiver at the thought of tapioca?
Tapioca – yuck!
When I hear “tapioca” I think of the tapioca pudding I used to eat as a snack when I was a kid. I just remember the texture being really weird! The pudding had those gross balls (which I now know to be tapioca pearls) floating around in it. I remember kids teasing and saying they were fish eyes. BLECH! I’m pretty sure that ruined tapioca for me.
I find it funny that it only took 20-something years for me to actually find out what those balls were/are. I must say, although I never believed my friends and their fish-eyeball stories, I am relieved to learn that there is nothing “fishy” about tapioca pudding!
Alton gets down with tapioca
To find out more about how tapioca is made, watch this Tapioca Pudding Video (and Recipe) from Good Eats. Alton Brown explains what those eyes, balls, err.. “pearls” are and includes his homemade tapioca pudding recipe. Full disclosure – I did not watch the entire video. I just couldn’t… I tried, but couldn’t. It brought back too much of my tapioca-scarred past!! Crazy, right?! 🙂
Yuca fries are yummy
I may not love (or like) tapioca pudding, but I do like me a good yuca fry because yuca fries are tasty as hell. They are crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and are much healthier than straight-up white potato fries.
Making yuca fries is EASY… as in easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Only a little prep work is needed and you can season them however you want. I like yuca fries with a blend of sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika… and if I am feeling wild, I will toss some chili or cayenne powder into the mix. I sometimes sprinkle lime juice over the fries just before serving.
I happily made a batch of yuca fries last week so that I could write about the recipe, but sadly, I didn’t make any tonight. As I write this post, I am totally wishing that I had yuca in my pantry right now. It’s pretty obvious that if given the opportunity, I could and would eat several pounds of yuca fries all by myself right this very second.
Oh well, I suppose it is for the best. Throwing myself into a yuca-induced coma wouldn’t be wise. I will have to pass on the fries tonight, but if you happen to have some yuca sitting around or are planning a trip to the market, you should get yo’self a couple yucas and take a leap into yuca fry heaven.
Baked yuca fries recipe
One of the easiest ways to prepare and cook a yuca root is uber simple (okay, I almost wrote “tuber simple”… I almost couldn’t resist – haha. Lucky for you, I held back!) All it takes is a short boil and a little baking time with ghee, coconut oil, duck fat or olive oil, and tasty spices.
Here’s how I make baked yuca fries. If you have never had yuca before, you should give this healthy recipe a whirl – I am pretty sure you will be happy with the results.
- Peel the yuca's waxy skin with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler.
- Cut yuca into large wedges and remove the fibrous inner core (the long and stringy part).
- Bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil.
- Place the raw yuca wedges in the boiling water and cook for 12-15 minutes. The fries are ready when they turn translucent, are soft and can be pierced easily with a fork. You do not want them to be soft and mushy.
- Drain yuca thoroughly, pat dry and set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place ghee or fat/cooking oil of your choice onto baking sheet and place into oven until melted. An alternative is to melt the fat in a saucepan.
- While oven is heating and fat is melting, cut boiled yuca into the shape of fries, about 2.5 - 3 inches long and ½″ thick.
- Spread the fries onto the greased baking sheet, and season generously with garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, paprika and chili pepper (optional).
- Carefully toss thoroughly.
- Bake fries for 20-30 minutes turning occasionally, until golden brown.
- Remove sheet from oven.
- Carefully remove yuca from the sheet and place onto a plate lined with paper towels.
- Sprinkle yuca fries with lime juice (optional) and if needed, add more sea salt.
Thoughts, secrets, tips?
- What do you think of yuca fries?
- Do you like them? Yay or nay?
- Do you prepare them any differently and if so, how?
When she is not slaying fat and building muscle, Jennifer can be found trekking barefoot, traveling, cooking and refining her photography skills. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.