Yuca, tapioca, manioc in French, manyòk in Creole, cassava elsewhere…
Boiled, mashed, garnished with cheese, fries … yuca at breakfast, lunchtime, dinner … A never-ending yuca diet that drives me and my stomach nuts!
Such are my first memories of this root. I was a 16 year old traveling with a group of 400 young people from all over the world. Our first destination was the neighboring land, the Dominican Republic.
There, I discovered this root for the first time, and promptly grew sick of it. Our repetitive yuca diet included the tuber on every menu, especially breakfast. This was overwhelming for a girl who sparingly ate yuca at home.
Though we do eat this vivre alimentaire in Haiti, yuca finds its way to our table on rare occasions either as part of a stew or a side, but never as a main dish. It took a contest to change my perception of this vegetable.
I rediscovered yuca thanks to a cooking contest
We hosted an #EditionManioc food championship for one of my clients at at i7lab in 2018. Though I could not participate myself, the chef’s description of the many forms in which this root could be use intrigued me. Our contestants had the choice to use either the root itself or its biproducts: flour and sweet or savory kasav in their culinary creations. Here was a tuber versatile enough to be served as a starter, a main course or dessert.
Right here and there I decided to go on my own manyòk adventure. With a mix of curiosity and skepticism, I chose to devote an entire weekend to this root I had never handled before.
On the menu: cassava pudding, fries, croquettes stuffed with herring, caramel stuffed bites.
Salty dishes. Sweet dishes. Exquisite dishes. Dishes, which recipe inspirations came from fellow food bloggers. Dishes that amazed and delighted me at once. Dishes diverse enough not to make a 16-year-old sick of them. Dishes I will now let you savor through pictures.
My yuca adventure began with me revisiting my cassava pudding, which recipe is right here on the blog. In a spirit of adventure, I prepared this version with a different type of cassava. I used kasav that come to us from Jeremie, a city south of Haiti. I also used a mixture of white and brown sugar and served it with homemade caramel sauce, which explains this version’s caramelized color.
Manyòk fries and cheese dip
While the pudding was baking, I went on a savory fries adventure. I cut and fried some fresh yuca that I served with a quick cheese dip, which recipe awaits you below. The crispiness and crunchiness of these yuca fries left me begging for more and wondering how come they’re not part of our local cuisine.
Yuca croquettes stuffed with herring
Inspired by these cassava cheese balls, chulitos, and cassava puffs with sugar and caramel cinnamon recipes, I prepared what I would call cheese and herring stuffed yuca croquettes. I boiled and mashed the yuca into a purée seasoned with Tête de Maure cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic before rolling and stuffing it with prepared herring. I fried these croquettes in hot sizzling oil.
Caramel stuffed yuca beignets
This adventure had to end on a sweet note with these caramel stuffed yuca beignets. These sweet bites are as easy to prepare as the above croquettes. I simply seasoned the mashed yuca with sweet spices before rolling, frying and stuffing them with a caramel sauce. To further highlight their sweetness, I coated them with a sugar and cinnamon mixture. You will find the recipe that inspired them here.
With this excursion, yuca conquered me. I discovered a root that, without asking too much, adapts to both salty and sweet culinary ambitions.
I first published this article on September 20, 2018. The 2020 version includes new pictures and text revisions.
Yuca fries & Yuca Croquettes
For the yuca fries & cheese dip
- Oil for frying
- Cream Cheese
- Hot Pepper Sauce
For the yuca croquettes stuffed with herring
- Tête de maure cheese
- Salez hareng
find the recipe here
- Oil for frying
For the yuca fries
- Slice the yuca into fries
- Soak them in salted water
- Prepare the dip by mixing cheese, mayo, salt pepper, garlic and pepper sauce
- Heat the oil with a piece of garlic
- Drain the yuca
- Fry them into the hot sizzling oil until they crisp
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Serve with the cheese dip
For the croquettes
- Boil the yuca in salted water
- Once they’re fully cooked, discard the water and let them cool until they’re cool enough to handle
- Remove the inner membrane and mash until there are no lumps
- Season with cheese, salt, pepper and garlic
- Using your hands, shape the puree into balls and stuff them with the prepared herring
- Fry each croquette in hot sizzling oil
- Serve hot