Ever heard of yucca? (pronounced you-ca)
Well, how ’bout aji (pronounced ah-he) pepper?
What about Peru?
Whelp, this yucca fries with aji yellow sauce recipe is a classic Peruvian side dish, lightened up a tad – but still pretty authentic – and most importantly, absolutely delicious.
You might find it a bit odd, this American chick always making Peruvian dishes, but (Peruvian) husbands tend to influence their (American) wives’ cooking like that. And my momma always told me, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so… yeah, that’s not so odd, right?
This here yucca branch, now that’s odd.
Even though it looks fresh from a tree, I promise, under that tough exterior, you’ll find a potato-like starch that, once peeled, boiled and lightly pan-fried, is quite reminiscent of thick steak fries with their crunchy, yet tender texture.
Not gonna lie to ya though, this isn’t like peeling a potato, it takes a bit of muscle – and a sharp knife. The outer bark, composed of brown and pink layers, peels off easily with your fingers, once you make the first slit. If there’s resistance, simply slide the knife in between the outer layers and inner yucca, give it a wiggle, and start peeling again.
If you have a long branch, I recommend cutting it into chunks, 4-6 inches in length, for easier peeling.
Once peeled, you’ll find a white fibrous root that’s much easier to cut.
Give it a thorough rinse, then cut it into thick fries, being sure to remove the inner most fibrous part (as you would cut apple slices – avoiding the inner seed area.)
As you can see, I’m all about the rustic look.
Once you cut them, give ‘em a boil until tender, next, a good drain and dry, then, a little pan frying action.
Baaazing! Yucca fries.
Crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, salty, and with the most dunkable texture, these bad boys are downright addictive.
I feel I should warn you.
Slightly similar to the American version, but with a more fibrous texture, these fries are best enjoyed with a side sauce. Typically, it’s a spicy cheese sauce, but I wanted to Americanize it a bit, so I used a combo of sour cream, mayo and yogurt.
So if you’re looking to expand your South American cuisine, or just looking for an adventure in the kitchen, try yucca fries! Look for yucca at your local supermarket or a farmer’s market, and get peeling!
What’s the weirdest looking food you’ve ever eaten?
Was it good?
I’d have to say yucca and passion fruit are pretty weird looking, but equally delicious!
Yucca Fries with Aji Pepper Yellow Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5-7 minutes
Ingredients (4-6 servings)
- 1 lb yucca (about 1 foot long), peeled, rinsed, cut into fries, and boiled until tender (about 5-7 minutes)
- 3-4 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- Sea salt
Aji Pepper Sauce
- 1/4 c. organic mayo
- 1/4 c. yogurt
- 1/4 c. low-fat sour cream
- 1 Tbsp Aji pepper sauce
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 green onion
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
First, make the sauce by combining everything in a food processor and blend until smooth, set aside.
Then, peel, rinse and cut the yucca into fries. Next, boil and drain the fries, lay out on a towel (or paper towel) and pat dry.
Heat half the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, once hot, add the yucca in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, adding more oil as needed.
Pan-fry on one side for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown, flip and sear on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Remove from oil, drain on paper towels and sprinkle generously with sea salt.
Continue until all the yucca is fried.
Serve with sauce.