Have you tried hearty yuca dishes? What is yuca anyway?
Yuca, which is also known as Cassava to some, is a starchy root that looks a lot like potato. It is produced in Latin America and the Caribbean, and has been an essential vegetable in these diets for centuries.
It is widely grown in tropical regions of the world because it can easily grow under the environmental conditions that prevail in those areas. Even before Columbus arrived, yuca was a primary food ingredient of the Taino, Carib, and Arawak population, especially in the form of yuca bread.
It has always been a crucial element of their culture, and the natives appreciate and enjoy it. Yuca is still eaten throughout the islands today where people eat it mashed, add it to stews, make chips with it, and grate or grind it into flour to make yuca bread. Raw yuca is white, but when cooked, it turns yellow, tastes sweet, and looks slightly translucent. If you decide to cook it yourself, make sure to cook it properly, as it is poisonous when it’s raw. Cooked, however, it has a delicious buttery taste, and is a far better alternative to potato.
Yuca nutritional details: naturally gluten-free!
Yuca has a very high content of vitamins, and is one of the most important sources of carbohydrates. It is rich in starch and carbohydrates, and it can provide up to 80 percent of the energy the human body needs. It is ideal for those following a diet to lose weight because it is extremely low in fat, as well as high in protein, much higher than other root vegetables, and it helps to maintain lower levels of blood cholesterol. Yuca is known for the energy it contains in its flesh, so it is an ideal choice for children, athletes, and folks who engage in strenuous physical work.
Individuals with food allergies often benefit from using Yuca in cooking and baking because it is naturally:
Yuca is also very easy to digest, and can prove beneficial for people suffering from eating disorders, such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, or gastritis. Despite being a well-known food in many parts of the world, the properties and health benefits of yuca are still not widespread.
How to cook Yuca dishes
Yuca is very similar to potato, and it’s incredibly versatile in cooking. It can be baked, boiled, grilled, or fried. People often make it into chips or add it to stews, stir-fries, omelets, or soups. You can prepare several snacks and dishes with the root on its own.
It’s often ground into flour and used to make bread and crackers, as well as dough for local Caribbean delicacies, such as empanadas, tamales, and tapioca, which thickens puddings. Another popular way of eating yuca is to mash it, sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and lime juice, and serve it with meat.
Some exciting traditional yuca dishes
- In the Dominican Republic, locals make a delicious yuca dish called Cativias. They are scrumptious crispy empanadas—something like little pies but not really—which can be stuffed with meat, cheese, or vegetables, and then fried.
- In Guyana, pepperpot is a local delicacy that’s cooked with boiled-down yuca juice and other spices.
- In Jamaica, they make lots of bread, pancakes, and muffins from yuca flour, which they refer to as bam-bam. They call their thick yuca bread bammie, which they usually eat with fried fish.
Yuca is a favorite of the Caribbean
Yuca is very popular in Caribbean countries, where it is broadly produced in the region. It costs less than other food products, and, thanks to its valuable nutritional properties, is the favorite food of local people.
The use of Yuca in the local cuisine dates back to the times of the Taino Indians, the indigenous people who inhabited the islands before Columbus arrived. They were skilled in agriculture, and produced yuca, among other vegetables, such as garlic, potatoes, yautías, mamey, and guava. Their most beloved God was Yúcahu, who was known as the deity of agriculture, as well as the God of peace and tranquility. For the locals, the protector of agriculture represented goodness. Even today, yuca is regarded as a staple for poor people, as it is an excellent source of calories and carbohydrates for people in developing countries.
Discover the taste of the Caribbean
Yuca has a sumptuous taste and exceptional nutritional value. Everybody who visits the Dominican Republic will definitely taste many delicious yuca dishes. At a Fitness Camp in Cabarete, you can discover the local culture while enjoying a program that will benefit your body and mind. The healthiest and yummiest dishes are served locally, and most of the food included in the Fitness Camp package comes from the organic Taino farm of the hotel. You can find out a lot more about what is included.
Lakewinds, What Is It? Yuca (Cassava) Root, https://www.lakewinds.coop/blog/what-is-it-yuca-cassava-root/
The Spruce Eats, What Is Cassava (Yuca)?, https://www.thespruceeats.com/introduction-to-cassava-yuca-2138084
Wikipedia, Cassava, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava
Wikipedia, Yúcahu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yúcahu
Healthline, Cassava: Benefits and Dangers, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cassava#section10
The petit gourmet, CATIBIAS O CATIVIAS (DOMINICAN YUCCA EMPANADAS), https://thepetitgourmet.com/catibias-o-cativias-dominican-yucca-empanadas/