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Old 15-11-2003, 04:35 PM
Rich McCormack
 
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Default Yuca/cassava/manioc and toxins


Harlan Messinger wrote:

I'm confused. In the past, I've read that yuca (cassava, manioc)
contains toxins that need to be removed before the tuber can be eaten.
Recently I've been testing some yuca-based recipes, and the first
several I tried involved grating or pulverizing them and letting them
drain. But other recipes involve no draining at all. I've followed one
of them, with no ill effects. And then it occurred to me: what about
when yuca is served in chunks in restaurants? If toxins need to be
drained, how would they even do that? Maybe the toxins are really a
non-concern. Can any of you enlighten me?


Living here in sunny SoCal, when I think of yuca or yucca, I think
of the spiky leafed desert plant from the lily family that grows
wild in the surrounding hills or in cultivated suburban gardens.
I have trouble associating yuca with the evergreen shrub that grows
the tubers called cassava or manioc.

Here's a recipe I found years ago in a supermarket handout that was
printed in both Spanish and English. It calls for cutting the yuca
in half lengthwise and discarding the fibrous cord that runs down
the middle...sounds more like a stem than a tuber to me. Or, does
the cassava or manioc tubers have a fibrous cord running down the
middle? Is it possible there's more than one kind of culinary yuca
coming from plants that aren't related?

Yuca Puffs (Bolitas de Yuca)

Makes about 16 puffs

1/2 pound yuca, peeled
salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tblsp. fresh lime juice
2 tblsp flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper
vegetable oil
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
fresh grated parmesan (or hard Mexican style) cheese

Cut the yuca in half lengthwise. Discard the fibrous cord that
runs down the middle and cut yuca halves into chunks. Bring lightly
salted water to a boil, add yuca and simmer until tender, about
15 to 20 minutes. Drain the yuca and transfer to a food processor.
Add egg and lime juice and process until pureed. Add the flour
and baking powder and pulse to mix. Add the scallion, pepper
and garlic. Pulse to combine. Add a little more flour if necessary
to make a soft dough. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm. Spread the
bread crumbs on a baking sheet. Form the dough into 1 to 1 ½ inch
balls and roll them in the bread crumbs. The mixture will be soft
and sticky, but rolling in the crumbs should allow the forming
of neat balls. Refrigerate on the baking sheet, covered, for
at least 1 hour or until firm. When firm, heat 2 to 3 inches
of vegetable oil in a suitable pan or deep fryer. Working in
small enough batches so as not to cool the oil too much, gently
lower the dough balls into the oil with a slotted spoon. Fry
the balls, turning several times, until they are golden brown
on all sides. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with grated
cheese and serve hot.

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Old 15-11-2003, 04:53 PM
Harlan Messinger
 
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Default Yuca/cassava/manioc and toxins

Rich McCormack wrote:


Harlan Messinger wrote:

I'm confused. In the past, I've read that yuca (cassava, manioc)
contains toxins that need to be removed before the tuber can be eaten.
Recently I've been testing some yuca-based recipes, and the first
several I tried involved grating or pulverizing them and letting them
drain. But other recipes involve no draining at all. I've followed one
of them, with no ill effects. And then it occurred to me: what about
when yuca is served in chunks in restaurants? If toxins need to be
drained, how would they even do that? Maybe the toxins are really a
non-concern. Can any of you enlighten me?


Living here in sunny SoCal, when I think of yuca or yucca, I think
of the spiky leafed desert plant from the lily family that grows
wild in the surrounding hills or in cultivated suburban gardens.
I have trouble associating yuca with the evergreen shrub that grows
the tubers called cassava or manioc.

Here's a recipe I found years ago in a supermarket handout that was
printed in both Spanish and English. It calls for cutting the yuca
in half lengthwise and discarding the fibrous cord that runs down
the middle...sounds more like a stem than a tuber to me. Or, does
the cassava or manioc tubers have a fibrous cord running down the
middle?


Yes, they do. In my experience, the restaurants around here that serve
fried yuca don't take the tough cord out, either, which is annoying.
All you need to do is slice the yuca in half lengthwise and dig the
cord out, like digging the core out of a halved apple.

Is it possible there's more than one kind of culinary yuca
coming from plants that aren't related?


There's just culinary yuca, and it isn't the same as the member of the
agave family that is known as "yucca". It's extra confusing because
"yucca" is a variant spelling for the tuber--but that's probably a
result of the confusion between the two in the first place. You'll
find it in the produce section of almost any food store that serves a
Latino community. It can also be bought in bags of frozen chunks.

[snipping yuca puff recipe]

Thank you for this. As it happens, I've been trying to duplicate a
dish we had at Ola restaurant in New York, a yuca cake that was cakey
rather than frittery or croquetty in texture. This is the first recipe
I've seen that has baking powder in it, so I'm going to try it.


--
Harlan Messinger
Remove the first dot from my e-mail address.
Veuillez ôter le premier point de mon adresse de courriel.


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