Yuca Recipes and the Complete Guide to Cassava Root
| Lee en Español |
New to Cassava? Start here:
What is yuca?
Yuca is the starchy tuberous root of the cassava plant, the shrub Manihot esculenta. It is a thick root with a thin brown skin, a thicker pink and white rind, and white flesh. When cooked, yuca is tender with a mild buttery taste.
Picture of yuca
Names in English and Spanish
Cassava is also known as manioc, mandioca, or Brazilian arrowroot. It is nearly universally known in Spanish as yuca, though in some places, it is known as mandioca. Bear in mind that the name yucca in English is not the same as yuca. Yucca is an ornamental plant native of North American desert areas. The proper name for yuca in English is cassava.
History of yuca
Cassava is native to an area centered in western Brazil and brought to Hispaniola by the natives of this region, who were the first to populate the island of Hispaniola. Yuca was a staple of the Taino diet, and the only ingredient in casabe, a dish that we still eat. In our country, yuca is far more popular than potato and used for the same purpose.
Yuca is a relatively long-lasting root vegetable. A traditional method for storing is burying it unpeeled in well-drained but slightly moist soil (my mom had a large pot with soil just for that purpose). It keeps well refrigerated (unpeeled) for about a week, especially if it comes covered in wax, it then starts to dry.
If you want to keep it for longer, peel it, chop it and freeze it in a tight bag with the least air inside as possible. Frozen it can be kept for about a month before the taste starts to suffer.
Nutrition in yuca
Yuca is rich in carbs, fat-free, and rich in fiber. It is also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, choline, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Safety of yuca
This is one topic that comes up often when people hear about yuca. While the original (bitter) variety of yuca contained toxic substances, the variety that is currently grown and sold in the Dominican Republic (sweet) has been bred to eliminate this toxicity. Once cooked, it can be safely eaten without having to undergo the traditional processes used to get rid of the toxins. In any case, cassava should not be ingested raw.
How to peel yuca
Peeling yuca is very easy, but if you are not familiar with it, you can learn with our video tutorial.
How to cook yuca
Yuca is more often than not served boiled as a side dish, but it is a very versatile root vegetable. We make bread, desserts, fries, tapioca dishes, and yuca flour dishes with it. It is also a common addition to soups and stews. You can see all these below.