We could give this recipe one of several different titles. The main ingredient of this delicious dish has lots of different names and variations on names. Yuca, a root vegetable native to South America, is also known as cassava and manioc, among other things. The word yuquita is a diminutive form of yuca. (“ita” in Spanish signifying little or small). The English language name for this dish would be fried cassava. But honestly, it doesn’t sound as good as the original, pronounced Yoo-kEE-tas FrEE-tas.
This tropical root vegetable is a staple source of carbohydrate in many parts of Latin America and Asia. These days, it’s easy to find yuca or cassava in good supermarkets and you’ll definitely find the vegetable in specialist or ethnic food stores.
The recipe is so simple that even an absolute beginner could manage it. If you can boil and fry potatoes, this recipe will seem easy to make.
The accompaniments to this recipe are entirely optional. Of course, you’ll need some kind of condiment or sauce. Yuquitas fritas are like regular potato fries. One or two dry fries are tasty but after that, you’ll need a sauce to make them more palatable. Ketchup works fine. So does guacamole, but to make this dish more “Peruvian”, we recommend dipping with aji amarillo hot sauce. This fiery and spicy sauce is very popular in Peru and goes really well with yuca fries. If it gets a bit hot for you, try dipping the fried cassava into mayonnaise, mild mustard, or creamy pink sauce (mayonnaise mixed with ketchup). And if you enjoy sweeter hot dips, try some Peruvian rocoto pepper sauce on the side.
Oh, I nearly forgot. A nice cold bottle of Cusqueña or Pilsen beer is the perfect match for yuquitas fritas.
What you’ll need:
Cassava, oil, water, and salt. Easy!
Yuquitas Fritas – Peruvian Yuca Fries
- 1 kg cassava
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- With a sharp knife, carefully peel the yucas.
- Add plenty of water to a large pot (We use 8 cups of water). And a tablespoon of salt and turn the stove on high heat. When the water starts to boil, add the peeled pieces of whole cassava, and cook half-covered for about thirty minutes.
- You will know that the yucas are ready when they start to open. If you boil yuca that has been sliced, you may find it more difficult to determine when they are cooked. Prick them with a fork and if they feel soft, they are ready. Turn off the stove and drain excess water. Let the yucas drain for about ten minutes.
- Then place each piece one by one on a cutting board. Open the individual yuca and remove the hard vein from the inside. With the help of a knife, cut into long rectangular sticks..
- Make sure each stick is free of water residue to prevent oil from splashing and burning.
- Pour all the oil into a skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot and you see bubbles on the surface of the oil, add the yuquitas with a slotted spoon little by little.
- Fry the yuca for about three to five minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and place on a flat plate covered with absorbent paper towels. Wait about five minutes until the excess oil is drained and serve accompanied by an avocado sauce, Peruvian hot sauce, or mayonnaise. Garnish with some refreshing lime!