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Yuca Frita

Yuca Frita

Yuca frita (fried yuca or yuca fries) is a fantastic side dish when you want to try something a little different.

 

Fried yuca is similar to French fries. It has a mild flavor, with a creamy and slightly grainy texture. When they’re fried, the outside gets crispy and the inside remains creamy.

 

We start with already cooked yuca. Then it’s fried until golden, hit with a little bit of salt and usually served with a garlic sauce of some sort. Here we make a simple and delicious cilantro garlic sauce.

Yuca frita served in a small metal sheet pan with one piece of yuca dipped in a light green cilantro sauce.

 

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What is Yuca?

Yuca is a root vegetable with a brown rough skin and hard, white inside. Yuca is also known as cassava. Common preparations include: boiled, mashed, or fried and the yuca is usually served with mojo or some other sauce.

 

Yuca is commonly served as a side dish or added to soups and stews, like this Cuban ajiaco. In Cuban culture, it is especially popular at gatherings and special occasions where roast pork (lechon asado) is served.

 

Using fresh yuca versus frozen yuca

We use frozen yuca in this recipe. I have grown increasingly frustrated with fresh yuca because half of the time it’s not good. The outside looks perfectly fine, but when it’s cut, the inside has brown spots, is moldy or brown.

 

The flesh of the yuca needs to be perfectly white. Any imperfections indicate it’s not good. I’m sticking with the frozen yuca.

Frozen Yuca in a 4 pound package with blue lettering.

 

Look for frozen yuca in the international frozen food section of large supermarkets or Latin markets in your area. It comes in a large bag and several brands package them. The brand will depend on what’s available in your area.

Two large pieces of frozen yuca displayed on a wood cutting board.

 

To make yuca frita you will need

3-4 quarts Water

2- 2½ pounds Frozen Yuca

1 teaspoon Salt, plus a couple of pinches to season after they are fried

Canola oil, enough to cover the bottom of a deep, large skillet by about 1 inch (about 1½ cups)

 

To make the Cilantro Garlic Sauce you will need

¼ cup Mayonnaise

¼ cup Sour Cream

2 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

1 Garlic Clove, smashed and roughly chopped

¼ teaspoon Salt

¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

 

Make the cilantro garlic sauce

Let’s start with the cilantro sauce so that it can sit in the refrigerator, letting the flavors come together.

 

Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper to a small blender (like a Nutribullet). Blend until the sauce is smooth. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula a couple of times and then continue blending.

 

Refrigerate the cilantro garlic sauce until ready to use. Give it a good stir right before serving.

 

Boil the yuca

Use a really large pot to boil the yuca. If it’s overcrowded and doesn’t boil in enough water it could get mushy and won’t work well for the yuca fries.

 

  • Add 3 – 4 quarts of water to a large pot.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
  • Carefully add the yuca to the boiling water. Use tongs to lower the yuca into the water.
  • Cover the pot and cook the yuca for approximately 20-25 minutes.
  • Give it a gentle stir every once in a while.
  • Cook the yuca until it is tender. A knife should slide in and out without offering resistance.

 

Do not overcook the yuca. We want it to hold its shape when we’re ready to fry it. If we were making yuca con mojo, then the yuca falling apart would be a great thing, but for yuca frita not so much.

 

Keep an eye on in and test a piece after the first 15 minutes of cooking. Then gauge the remaining cooking time from there.

 

Let the yuca cool

Drain the yuca completely. Use a strainer and let all of the water drain and steam away.

 

When the yuca is cool enough to handle, arrange it on a pan or large platter. Do not stack it. Let it cool completely, or refrigerate the yuca until it is chilled and firmed up.

 

Make the yuca frita

Cut the yuca in half.

A piece of cooked yuca being cut in half by a large knife on a wood cutting board.

 

Remove and discard the stringy, woody pieces. You’ll recognize them when you see them. They resemble really thick twine.

The stringy, woody piece in the inside of the yuca being removed.

 

Then cut the yuca into thick pieces. About 1 inch thick and at least 3-4 inches long.

Cook yuca cut into thick pieces displayed on a wood cutting board.

 

Add enough oil to a deep, large skillet to cover the bottom by about 1 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking add some of the yuca pieces to the skillet.

 

Add enough yuca so that there is still some space between the pieces. Do not overcrowd the skillet, fry in batches.

Yuca fries frying in oil in a large, black skillet.

 

  • Fry the yuca for 2 minutes.
  • Turn each piece and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Fry the yuca for one more minute turning any pieces that need to brown further.
  • The yuca should be a light golden color on all sides.

Yuca pieces frying in a large, black skillet. They are turning a soft golden color.

 

Remove the yuca with a slotted spoon or tongs and place them on a plate or pan that is lined with a paper towel. As soon as they are all out, sprinkle with a little bit of salt.

Fried yuca pieces displayed draining on a white paper towel.

 

In between batches, remove the skillet from the heat while you get ready for the next batch. We want to keep the skillet off the burner while we do this so that the oil does not overheat. I just move the skillet to an empty burner and move it back to the hot burner when I’m ready.

 

Repeat with the steps above with the remaining yuca. Serve the yuca frita with the cilantro garlic sauce and enjoy!

Fried yuca served with a light green cilantro sauce, served in a small metal pan.

 

Fried yuca served with a light green cilantro sauce, served in a small metal pan.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Yuca Frita

Yuca frita (fried yuca or yuca fries) is a fantastic side dish when you want to try something a little different.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: cassava, yuca
Servings: 6
Calories: 447
Author: Elizabeth

Ingredients

To make yuca frita you will need

  • 3-4 quarts Water
  • 2- 2½ pounds Frozen Yuca
  • 1 teaspoon Salt plus a couple of pinches to season after they are fried
  • Canola oil enough to cover the bottom of a deep, large skillet by about 1 inch (about 1½ cups)

To make the Cilantro Garlic Sauce you will need

  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove smashed and roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

Make the cilantro garlic sauce

  • Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper to a small blender (like a Nutribullet).
  • Blend until the sauce is smooth. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula a couple of times and then continue blending.
  • Refrigerate the cilantro garlic sauce until ready to use. Give it a good stir right before serving.

Boil the yuca

  • Add 3 – 4 quarts of water to a large pot.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
  • Carefully add the yuca to the boiling water. Use tongs to lower the yuca into the water.
  • Cover the pot and cook the yuca for approximately 20-25 minutes. Stirring gently occasionally.
  • Cook the yuca until it is tender. A knife should slide in and out without offering resistance. If it does not, continue cooking.
  • Test the yuca after the first 15 minutes of cooking. Then gauge the remaining cooking time from there.

Let the yuca cool

  • Drain the yuca completely. Use a strainer and let all of the water drain and steam away.
  • When the yuca is cool enough to handle, arrange it on a pan or large platter. Do not stack it. Let it cool completely, or refrigerate the yuca until it is chilled and firmed up.

Make the yuca frita

  • Cut the yuca into thick pieces, about 1 inch thick and at least 3-4 inches long.
  • Remove and discard the stringy, woody pieces. They resemble really thick twine.
  • Add enough oil to a deep, large skillet to cover the bottom by about 1 inch.
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking add some of the yuca pieces to the skillet. Do not overcrowd the skillet, fry in batches.
  • Fry the yuca for 2 minutes.
  • Turn each piece and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Fry the yuca for one more minute turning any pieces that need to brown further. The yuca should be a light golden color on all sides.
  • Remove the yuca with a slotted spoon or tongs and place them on a plate or pan that is lined with a paper towel. As soon as they are all out, sprinkle with a little bit of salt.
  • Repeat with the steps above with the remaining yuca.
  • Serve the yuca frita with the cilantro garlic sauce

Video

Notes

Do not overcook the yuca. We want it to hold its shape when we’re ready to fry it. If we were making yuca con mojo, then the yuca falling apart would be a great thing, but for yuca frita not so much.
While frying the yuca, in between batches, remove the skillet from the heat while you get ready for the next batch. We want to keep the skillet off the burner while we do this so that the oil does not overheat. I just move the skillet to an empty burner and move it back to the hot burner when I’m ready.

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 481mg | Potassium: 526mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 39.1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 0.5mg
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

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