Yuca Hervida ~ Cuban Boiled Yuca

Yuca hervida is a Cuban side dish that can be enjoyed with any meal but especially at Noche Buena dinner, a Cuban Christmas Eve tradition. Fried, mashed, or boiled, yuca is soft and supple when cooked. For yuca hervida the starchy root vegetable is boiled to tender perfection and prepared with a generous garlicky mojo. Although red onions make for a more beautiful yuca hervida, my family makes yuca hervida with white onions. Despite its dull appearance with the white onion and garlic mojo, yuca hervida is full of flavor and is a classic Cuban comfort food.

Yuca is my favorite stubborn, sticky starch. Hard to cut and covered in skin, yuca takes a bit of time, love and prep to get ready for boiling. I typically purchase frozen yuca, which is already peeled and divided, and tastes just the same. Apparently the layer between the woody brown skin of the yuca root and the tube can be poisonous, I recently learned this so you should wash the yuca well and cook thoroughly. Boiled yuca is the starting point for many Cuban dishes and I have made this recipe many times, and I love the gummy, carby bite of boiled yuca.

Yuca Hervida ~ Cuban Boiled Yuca

  • 2 lbs yuca peeled cut in quarters (fresh or frozen)
  • Juice of 1 sour orange or lime
  • 1 thinly sliced onion onion
  • Salt
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Crushed chicharron optional

Cover the yuca in water and add the the juice of half a lime and salt. Boil until the yucca is fork tender about 20 minutes. When the yuca is fork tender drain the water and let cool slightly. Remove the tough center fiber from the yuca chunks. It will easily come out of the yuca once it is cooked. The yuca will be very sticky.

While the yuca is cooking begin making the mojo. Mash the garlic cloves with a mortar and pestle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Heat olive oil on low heat in a frying pan, add the onion and sauté slightly. The onions are best on the raw side, and really add a lot of emphasis to the flavor of the yuca hervida. Set the onions aside.

Add the mashed garlic cloves to the pan and stir. Add the juice of the rest of the sour orange juice to the pan. Sauté the yuca hervida for two to three more minutes. Gently add the yuca to the pan and toss in the garlic mojo 5 minutes making sure to evenly coat the yuca in the mojo.

*I have had yuca hervida with red onion instead of white onion and prefer the look although this is more traditional for the Dominican Republic.

**Crushed chicharron (or pork cracklins) garnish is great for added texture on the Cuban boiled yuca.

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Yuca Frita with Cilantro Garlic Sauce Recipe

Yuca-FritaYuca-with-CIlantro-Garlic-Sauce

Crispy yuca frita is another Cuban favorite that is great fried or boiled and served with garlic. The boiled yuca is called yuca hervida, and I’ll make that another time. This time I made yuca frita. Delicious crispy fried yuca frita with a tangy lime cilantro garlic dipping sauce. This is the perfect side item or afternoon snack. Yuca have a distinct flavor and are wonderfully crispy on the outside, and creamy soft on the inside. Yuca frita are pretty much Cuban french fries.

Cilantro-Garlic-Sauce Finished-sauce

Any Miami native has had delicious varieties of cilantro garlic sauce, but everyone knows Pollo Tropical‘s is the best. Cilantro garlic dipping sauce is the perfect condiment for this starchy root vegetable.  I love yuca in every which way, Versailles also makes yuca encrusted picadillo that looks like a croqueta, drizzled with cilantro garlic sauce. It. Is. Amazing. I’m telling you, do not be intimidated by yuca’s rough bark exterior, you can always take a short cut and buy the frozen yuca in your local supermarket.

        Yuca-Frita

Crispy Yuca Frita

1 large Yuca (the one pictured served yielded 22 pieces enough to feed 4-5)
Oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)
Sea salt and lime for garnish

Cilantro Garlic Sauce**********

***********I now use a new recipe. This is the original recipe I posted, but I have now perfected the recipe after trial and error the link is here.

1 container Fage Greek Yogurt
4 roasted garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro
1 tbsp green Tabasco
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp cayenne
Salt to taste

Begin to prep the yuca and cilantro garlic sauce. First, set a large pot of salted water to boil. Peel the outside of the yucca well with a peeler, clean thoroughly and pat dry. Cut the yuca into 2 inch by ½ inch thick rectangles. When the water is boiling add the yuca and boil for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Take the yuca out and lightly dry. Now is your opportunity to remove the fibrous center, gently remove this with a fork and discard. Cut the thick pieces in quarters.

Unpeeled-Yuca Chop-Yuca Stacked-Yuca

Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a pan to fry the yuca. The yuca took surprisingly long to get nice and crispy, but it is worth the wait. In my opinion the crispier the better! Squeeze a lime wedge over the yuca and sprinkle with sea salt. I plated both dishes with five yuca frita.  If you are cooking for more people then cook the yuca in batches and place in the oven to keep hot and crispy.

Fry-the-YucaUp-Close-Fried-Yuca

Now make the cilantro garlic sauce. Add the roughly torn cilantro, lime juice, garlic, onion powder, sugar, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper, and Greek yogurt to the Cuisinart food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

                     Hot-and-Crispy

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