Remember the commercial about the mom who looks in her pantry and realizes she is out of potatoes? So, what does she do? She cooks “Stove Top Stuffing” instead? Well, here in Cuenca, if you are out of potatoes, you can cook yuca instead.
Yuca is readily available and priced better than potatoes and is starchy with the same texture as potatoes. Yuca can be replaced with potatoes in many recipes.
Yuca is to the Ecuadorians, as potatoes might be to the North Americans. Yuca is prepared in a variety of ways here in the Andes Mountains and we just recently learned about it because it is one of the odd looking vegetables that we’ve never seen before.
Yuca, also known as cassava in some parts of Latin America is an Ecuadorian staple food. Here in the Andes they add chopped yuca to soups, stews and encebollado (fish soup) soup.
Another Ecuadorian specialty, which we have recently been making in our home, is “pan de yuca”.
This wonderful bread is actually made with yuca flour but I have a variation of it, which uses the actual yuca cooked and then mashed up with the yuca flour. Makes the bread (rolls) more hearty and dense.
Pan de yuca are really good when they're hot right out of the oven with butter and honey. Yummy!
Another simple dish using yuca is to boil chopped up yuca for about 45 minutes then sauté in a little bit of olive oil and garlic for about five minutes, season with salt and pepper. Makes a great side dish to other veggies or a meat dish.
We also use yuca when make one of our favorite homemade pasta dishes called gnocchi, which is just little Italian dumplings. I replace the potatoes with yuca and they are delicious!
Warning: Yuca / cassava is poisonous if not cooked. cook thoroughly by boiling for about 45 minutes to an hour. Video with my recipe for "pan de yuca" coming soon!