What the Yuca? And a Spicy Chicken Cutlet Recipe

The yuca, also known as cassava, mogo, manioc, mandioca, or kamoting kaoy, is a starchy tuber native to South America. I found this guy (pictured above cutting board) at my local grocery store and thought I’d give him a try. Since we have ousted pasta, rice, bread and beans, and since we are still all very active, we feel better when we eat some starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes every day. But sweet potatoes get boring after a while, so I figured I’d mix it up a bit and grab a yuca.

I don’t know anything about yucas.  Specifically I don’t know how to cook them. It is a weird little tuber, you peel it like a potato and it is white inside.  But my yuca was sort of slimy once peeled – I have no idea if this is normal or not but it didn’t smell bad and wasn’t squishy or anything, so I went with it.

Then I sliced it up, sprinkled on some dill, salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil.

I popped it in the oven at 325° for 30 minutes or so, flipping once about halfway through.

It was gross.

They came out really dry and had an odd flaky, paper-like texture. Maybe you’re not supposed to bake yuca, or I needed to use butter, lard or add some  liquid in there. I don’t know. Next time I’m in the mood to experiment I’ll figure it out.

Good thing we weren’t banking on only yuca for dinner!

Spicy Chicken Cutlets


3-4 pastured, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Slice them in half lengthwise if they are too thick. You want about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick cutlet.
1 cup almond meal, plus another 1/4 cup depending on how many cutlets you are making
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBS herbes de provence
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 organic eggs (I tend to save the pastured eggs for frying and eating whole since they are more expensive. We buy organic “free range” eggs for things like baking and scrambling)
1 TBS lard + 1 TBS grass fed butter


  1. Set up two flat bowls next to your stove top. In the first bowl add the eggs and scramble with a fork. In the second add the almond meal and spices and mix well.
  2. Melt the lard and butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°
  3. Dip the cutlet in the eggs first then the almond meal mixture, add to the pan and brown on both sides. Place the browned cutlets on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
I ate the cutlets with some sauteed rainbow chard over the yuca (to mask the weirdness of the yuca – I didn’t want it to go to waste).


1 yuca about $3
3-4 pastured chicken breasts about $9
Organic rainbow chard $2.50
I’m guessing this was about an $18 dinner for 2.5, plus we had some cutlets leftover for packed lunches. Not too bad.

Eat and enjoy!

Have you tried any weird new ingredients lately? Share your ideas! Also, any tips on cooking yuca, let me know. Spanks!

I shared this post on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday 5/25/12

7 thoughts on “What the Yuca? And a Spicy Chicken Cutlet Recipe

  1. Hi there! I stumbled upon your blog while looking at the Fight Back Friday posts over at the Food Renegade’s Blog.

    Being of Puerto Rican descent, I’m very familiar with yucca. My grandma uses it in her baked “pasteles”. Pasteles are very popular in Puerto Rico and are often served during celebrations and holidays. There are multiple variations of pasteles, but when making the baked version, you finely grate the yucca to make a sort of white puree, to which you add lard that has been colored red with annatto seed. You then place some meat (that you cooked before hand) on top of the yucca and wrap it in foil or a banana leaf.

    They’re a fantastic dish that’s not only traditional, but healthy as well. You should look up a recipe for “pasteles de yuca”. I can’t guarantee that they’ll be as good as my grandma’s but it’ll definitely be a fun thing to try.

    Oh and by the way, tapioca is also made from yucca. Also, the sliminess is normal, but if they appear dark on the inside or smell bad, they’re probably spoiled.

  2. Boil the Yucca for a long time and then drain and mash it with a little milk and a hand mixer. Remove the roots as much as possible and put butter on them like mashed potatoes only they are healthy and potatoes are not.

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