I bought a yucca.
Rob and I shop at an international store that stocks food not native to North American cuisine. They stock a variety of Asian foods but have a supply of Latin and South American foods, too.
We decided to take advantage of the opportunity we had and buy an exotic vegetable. I picked out yucca on a whim and returned home to hunt for recipes for my mysterious new vegetable.
Because the yucca is similar to the potato, the majority of the recipes I came across were alternative versions of potato recipes, the most common being fries. I didn’t want mashed yucca or fries though. I wanted something more interesting.
After more searching I came across South American recipes that actually used the yucca in alternative ways. Sweet balls, bread and empanadas were the best of my finds. I settled on a yucca bread I found on Mari’s Cakes blog. It was the simplest to bake and the easiest to health-ify. Mari, the author, is from the Dominican Republic and posts Latin & South American recipes.
The original recipe called for coconut. That was a bump in the road because a) I don’t keep coconut on hand and b) I don’t want to eat coconut. I eventually decided to replace the coconut with oats. I know oats are a long jump from coconut, but I’m a creative person.
I substituted a mango to avoid adding refined sugar to sweeten the bread. I chose mango because I had a mango in the fridge that needed to be eaten and unfortunately wasn’t quality enough to be eaten by itself. I also selected mango because it’s been difficult to find moderately-priced dried fruit in the US — even raisins — so this was the cheapest healthy option.
The anise seed was another ingredient I had to find a replacement for. Ugh. I didn’t have any of the ingredients on hand. All I had was the yucca…
I sincerely wished I could have included anise seed in the recipe, to at least retain a small amount of the intended flavor, but alas I couldn’t. I didn’t have any sort of anise or anise replacement (i.e. star anise, fennel or caraway). I settled on spices that I knew would work with the mango instead: cinnamon (Rob’s favorite), cardamom and garam masala.
And of course I needed to find a solution to my egg problem (i.e. they’re not included in my diet). I had three options for what to do about the egg:
- Flax egg
- Aquafaba (leftover liquid from cooked and canned legumes)
I chose the third option, aquafaba, because I’ve joined those obsessed with aquafaba. I’ve even joined a group on Facebook. However, unlike other members of the group, I hadn’t made anything with aquafaba yet. So this recipe was my chance to make something. I also opted for aquafaba over the flax seeds to keep the bread low fat.
With all of my ingredients selected, I began my work. My first task was to peel the yucca.
Being a yucca newbie, I did my best to peel the yucca. I learned the best way to peel a yucca seems to be to peel around the vegetable instead of lengthwise. I didn’t watch the clock, but I estimate the peeling process took around 10 minutes.
Next step: grate.
The task wasn’t exhaustive, but it was certainly labor-intensive. Yuccas have a grain that runs the length of the vegetable. This appeared to cause the grating to take more time and effort than a standard potato. I started out grating the yucca with the larger side of my grater, however after thinking it through, I switched to the finer grate. The original recipe had said to grate it finely. I started out with lazy intentions, yet scrounged up enough effort to maintain a small portion of the recipe’s integrity that was still left.
The rest of the process was easier than the first two tasks. Having just spent 9 months in Australia, I removed the flesh from the mango in just a few minutes. It was a stress-free task. Blending, measuring and mixing the rest of the batter together took less than 10 minutes to complete.
And the rest is history.
While finding the recipe and adapting it to my standards was difficult, I’m extremely glad I did it. I added an exotic vegetable to my repertoire and a unique recipe to my recipe box.
Pan-American Yucca Bread will spice up your culinary life. Figuratively, not literally. This recipe tastes sweet but contains an exotic ingredient: yucca. Explore Latin American cuisine by trying this simple yet delicious and healthy sweet bread recipe that teeters on the line between sweet and savory.
Reasons to love this recipe: exotic ingredients, simple to prepare, healthy, Latin/South American cuisine
Vegan and free of added salt, sugar, oil, gluten, soy, nuts and seeds
Yields 8 pieces
Inspired by Mari’s Pan de Yuca
- 2- 2 1/2 c grated yucca/cassava (between 600-700 g unpeeled)
- 1 mango, skinned and pitted
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 3/4 c rolled oats
- 1/4 c aquafaba
Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).
Peel and grate yucca. Place in a medium-large bowl then set aside.
Add the flesh of the mango and spices to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the grated yucca and stir to combine. Pour the batter into a nonstick baking pan (I used a non-stick 8-inch cake pan). Spread the batter out evenly and cover with foil. Bake for 50 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden. Allow the bread to cool before removing from pan. Enjoy warm or cold.
Note: I placed the bread in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes before serving the next morning to warm the bread. It was effective and resulted in a pleasant crispy top.