Cassava, also called yuca, is an essential, starchy, root vegetable in tropical diets around the world. It's native to Brazil and has been part of the Caribbean diet long before Columbus "discovered" the new world. Cassava (yuca) still plays an important role in Caribbean cuisine today. The recipes below reflect the diversity and different way of preparing the tuberous vegetable.
The most common way Caribbean natives prepared and consumed yuca was in the form of a hard, unleavened, flat bread called casabe. The recipe consists of two ingredients: cassava and salt. It may seem easy, but it takes practice to master the technique. On the French speaking islands the bread is called pain de kassav and in the Spanish speaking islands it is called pan de casabe.
This savory cheese bread uses yuca flour instead of wheat flour, making it gluten-free. The finished product has a biscuit like quality. The yuca bread is traditionally baked into half moon shapes, but I've had success baking them into round biscuit shapes, too. Note: Yuca flour is also called tapioca starch.
This recipe is my take on a classic cuban dish - yuca con mojo. This is a vegan dish that combines cooked yuca (cassava) and a mojo sauce of citris juices, garlic and onions, and spices. Yuca con mojo is usually served as a side dish. Note: you can use fresh or frozen yuca in this recipe.
Creamed and mashed cassava is also versatile. For example, for a low fat diet you can use skim milk, for a lactose free diet you can use soy milk. Also fresh yuca isn't necessary; you can use frozen.
Mofongo de yuca is a delicious dish of mashed yuca seasoned with garlic, salt, and bacon.
yuca and fresh corn fritters are fast, simple, and gluten-free. It's also a tasty way to prepare sweet corn when it's in season. I can easily see this little fried bites replacing hush puppies or tater tots at the table. You can also serve them as a snack or bring them to your next potluck.
cassava chips are excellent for snacks after school or on game night. Sprinkle with salt or serve with salsa or dip.