Yuca, also known as manioc, mandioca or cassava, is plant with an edible tuberous starchy root, native to South America.Like the potato, yuca is an extremely versatile ingredient and can be prepared by a variety of cooking methods. It can be fried, boiled, baked, mashed, steamed and even grilled. When dried to a powdery extract, yuca becomes tapioca pearls and they can be ground as a flour and used as a substitute for regular flour when making empanada dough, dumplings,cakes and breads. The tapioca pearls can also be made into Tapioca Pudding. Yuca can also be a base for soups.
Yuca is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and corn, which makes it a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people and is considered a “food security crop” in times of famine. Imagine that…..The incredible edible yuca!
Bolitas de Yuca y Queso with Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce.
These crispy bolitas, stuffed with cheese, are just fabulous for an appetizer or serves as the perfect side dish for lunch or dinner.
They are so easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time and can be frozen. All it takes is a few minutes to fry them straight from the freezer for a quick and delicious snack.
Adapted from a Colombian recipe,to make the bolitas, the yuca is boiled in water over medium heat until very tender, then mashed into dough, stuffed with cheese, formed into round balls, and then fried again until golden brown and crispy. Bolitas can be served with guacamole or any type of your favorite sweet or savory dipping sauces.
Bolitas de Yuca y Queso (Yuca Balls Stuffed with Cheese)
Yields about ~12 bolitas
1 pound frozen or fresh yuca, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, minced
1/8 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1/3 pound Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/3 pound hot pepper Monterrey jack cheese, cubed
1/3 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed
Canola oil for frying
Guacamole for serving
1.Boil the yuca in a large pot with salted water over
medium heat for about 15 minutes or until fork tender.
2. Drain the yuca and remove any fibers from the center of
the root. Transfer to a large bowl.Add garlic powder,
and salt to taste.
3. Crack two whole eggs into a bowl and lightly beat.
4. Place the breadcrumbs in another bowl. Add basil,
oregano, and salt to taste.
5. Finely chop all the cheeses and place in a bowl.
6. Form approximately12 balls with the yuca mash. Flatten
them with your hands and place a small amount of
the cheese mixture in the center and form the ball
again to enclose the cheese.
7. Dip the balls into the beaten egg covering all sides,
and then roll them with the seasoned breadcrumbs.
8. Fill a large skillet with oil and heat over medium-high
heat to 350F. Place the balls into heated oil and fry
for 4 minutes or until brown on all sides, turning
over once about halfway through. Remove from the oil and
place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.Serve
with guacamole or a dipping sauce.