Yuca Fritters with Aji Salsa

yuca fritters

These were inspired by a recipe called aji machucado (roughly translated to “bruised chile” I think) given to me by a friend in Colombia. A salsa is made with chunks of onion, tomato and chile aji all cooked down together, then served over mashed boiled yuca or plantain and topped with chopped boiled eggs. For lunch, I thought I’d riff on that, but turn my mashed yuca into little cakes to get some crunchy bits on the outside.

Aji amarillo are available in jars, imported from Peru usually. If you can’t find them, a jalapeño is a good substitute, heat index-wise, though a manzano (rocoto) is maybe better flavor-wise. They are a medium-hot chile with a fruity background and a gorgeous bright orange color.

If you’ve never cooked with fresh yuca root (aka tapioca, cassava, or manioc) before, it can be challenging to peel. The skins are thick and brown and covered in a heavy layer of wax. All of that needs to be peeled off before you boil them. Choose slender yuca root at the store to avoid the tough, stringy core that develops in older roots. And buy a little more yuca than you need for a recipe. Often they have grayish or brownish or softish areas under the skin which need to be tossed or they’ll give your food an off flavor.

Also, I’m not sure if “yuca” and “yucca” root are the same thing. I’m pretty positive they are, but the names of all these tropical-ish tubers get to be very confusing. If you know different, leave me a comment!


Yuca Fritters with Ají Salsa

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Yield: 2-3 1x


  • 1 pound yuca root
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil for cooking (or another oil)
  • Salsa aji”
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 cup large diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced chile ají (from a jar)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges


  1. Peel the yuca and cut into 2″ slices. Cover with water and boil about 20-30 minutes until soft. Drain and mash with green onion, salt and pepper. Remove any hard fibrous bits. Shape into 4-5 patties with oiled hands. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a small pot and add onion. Cover and cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes until softened. Add tomato paste, chile, garlic and salt and cook another 3-4 minutes until tomato paste is beginning to darken. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer while you fry the yuca fritters.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat and fry patties for 2-3 minutes per side until golden and crisp.
  4. Serve topped with hot salsa, eggs, cilantro and lime wedges.

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yucca fritters


If you like yucca, try these yucca fries!


  1. Cristina Schilling on December 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Oh my god Hilah! i called my grandma and told her about you sharing your version of her colombian traditional Breakfast/lunch recipe, reading what you worte and seeing those ingredients and flavors put together so beautifly made my cry, thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
    how are the Buñuelos navideños going?
    hugs, kisses, love and the best of my energies for you!

    • Hilah on December 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Hooray! That makes me joyful! I’m so glad you like my take on the machucado. Chris and I both thought it was absolutely delicious.
      The Buñuelos video will be up tonight at 6:30 CST! I hope you like it! They are so good.
      Besos y abrazos, mi amiga! XOXO

  2. Gene Cox on January 10, 2014 at 12:52 am

    I love you, hilah. Your food and videos always put me in a good mood. And, you always challenge me to cook new things, which, as an instructor, you should.
    I have never cooked with fresh yucca, but I am going to give it a go. Thanks as always!

    • Hilah on January 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Enjoy, Gene! Thank you.

  3. Jamie H. on June 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    What’s the Difference Between: Yuca and Yucca?

    The potato-like starch that you find in Latino cuisines and in some trendy bistros nowadays is cassava or Manihot esculenta, a native of South America and consumed in large quantities throughout Latin America, Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean. Yuca – pronounced yoo-cuh – is the root portion of the plant. Tapioca flour and pearls are made from the powdered root, along with many other common foods – check out this Wikipedia article for just a few of the hundreds of uses for cassava.

    Yucca, on the other hand, is an ornamental plant:

    They are those spiky flowered plants common in Southern and Western parts of the US, including Florida, New Mexico, and California. But they don’t have the edible root of the yuca, and are commonly confused.

    From Wikipedia: “Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many yuccas also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots, but use of these is sufficiently limited that references to yucca as food more often than not stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca.”

    (Image credit: Wikipedia)

    I thought I’d share this since I didn’t see any comments here about the difference between yuca and yucca. I didn’t know, so I looked it up. I know the original comment and recipe is a year old, but I think it is never too late to learn something new.

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