Stovetop Diplomat

Yuca Frita con Mojo

Yuca Frita con Mojo

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An authentic Cuban appetizer or snack, Yuca Frita con Mojo is a recipe that illustrates that sometimes the simplest recipes are the best!

Like all of my Cuban recipes, this one originates from my partner’s family. One of our favorite possessions is the cookbook of Cuban recipes his mom wrote for him. It’s my trove of secrets! But the way it’s written is very homestyle – add a little of this, add a lot of that – and what we have endeavored to do is to nail down just WHAT the correct amounts are.

So just what is yuca? Yuca (aka cassava) is a starchy tuber, somewhat similar to a potato, common to the cuisine of many Latin American, Asian and African countries. It has a mild, nutty flavor. It is NOT the same as yucca (with two C’s!) found growing in the American southwest- isn’t that obnoxious? For more information on what yuca is, how to find it, and how to use it, click here.

I have a few protips when working with yuca. First of all, you always need to peel it – the skin contains cyanide and is poisonous unless cooked thoroughly. With that in mind, make sure you dispose of your peels away from curious pets or children! Just not down the garbage disposal- the skin is very tough and fibrous and may cause damage.

Second, underneath the brown peel you may see a purplish layer of flesh. Remove this to the best of your ability as well. While not dangerous, it will separate during boiling and be stringy and tough. In the picture below, you can see a piece of yuca as you would buy it at the store (on the left) vs. a piece that has been well peeled (on the right).

unpeeled-yuca-on-the-left-and-peeled-yuca-on-the-right

This recipe uses my Cuban mojo sauce, one of the first recipes I posted here at Stovetop Diplomat. All of the ingredients in this sauce should look standard with the possible exception of one – sour orange juice. Sour oranges are a big part of Cuban cuisine, but can be difficult to find in the US outside of Florida. Fortunately, many Hispanic grocers sell bottled sour orange marinades, which is what I often use. You can also make a reasonable substitute out of equal parts orange and lime juice. But I definitely recommend finding the real stuff if possible! Click here to find out more about how to find sour orange juice and how to substitute it if necessary!

I also want to highlight the resting time on the mojo- for best results you really need to let it rest for AT LEAST two hours. Preferably overnight. Let those flavors get to know each other. Like any good relationship, they only make each better with time. And make sure to use the highest quality olive oil you can – it’s one of the main flavors, so don’t skimp!

As written, this Yuca Frita con Mojo recipe is meant to be eaten at once. But in my personal life, if I’ve taken the time to deal with one yucca root, I probably am going to do at least one more at the same time. It takes almost no extra time and yuca freezes beautifully! You can find detailed instructions here.

Looking for more delicious Cuban recipes? Try my authentic Papas RellenasCuban Picadillo Stuffed Plantains, Fricasé de Pollo or Frijoles Negros recipes!

Yuca Frita con Mojo

An authentic Cuban appetizer or snack, Yuca Frita con Mojo is a recipe that illustrates that sometimes the simplest recipes are the best!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people as a side dish

Ingredients

For Mojo Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sour orange juice (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup high-quality olive oil
  • 1 packed tbsp minced garlic cloves (about 4 cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • dash of pepper

For Yuca:

  • 1 1.5 lb yuca root
  • canola oil or other neutral frying oil

Instructions

Make mojo:

  1. At least two hours before you plan to eat, and preferrably the day before, mix all of the mojo ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Prepare Yuca:

  1. Generously salt a large pot of water, as you would when cooking pasta. Bring to a boil.

  2. Using your sturdiest potato peeler, remove all of the yuca's brown peel and any purplish flesh you may find underneath. Cut into 2-3 chunks.

  3. Boil for 40-45minutes, topping off the water as necesssary. You'll know your yuca is done when it is fork-tender and has separated into individual pieces.

  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the yuca from the water and place on a baking pan to cool. When it reaches a workable temperature, finish separating the individual pieces from each other and from the reedy core in the middle. They should separate fairly naturally into individual pieces, and it's ok for them to be asymetrical! Dispose of the core.

Fry Yuca and Finish:

  1. Pour about an inch of canola oil or other neutral oil into the bottom of a dutch oven, cast iron, or other heavy bottomed pot. Heat until extremely hot and the oil reaches 375 degrees. If your oil is hot enough, it will bubble very vigorously when you add the yuca.

  2. Fry in batches of 5-8 pieces, depending on size, making sure not to overcrowd. Turn occasionally, frying until a deep, beautiful gold, about 8-11 minutes. I always find it takes longer to achieve this color than I think it should! Remove from oil and drain on paper towels as you prepare the rest of the batches.

  3. After you have fried all of the yuca, place in a large serving bowl and pour mojo sauce over the top. Serve immediately.

Currently Listening: Jody Wisternoff – Nightwhisper

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