Yucca Fries and Raisin Ketchup!

Yucca Fries

I’ve been broadening my horizons. I’ve been trying new things. I’ve been buying all those unusual vegetables I’ve never bought before.

And I’ve got two words for you.
Yucca Root.

Here’s two more: Eat It.

Why? ‘Cause it’s fuckin’ yummy-as-hell. How? I’ll tell you right now.

From the outside, yucca (or yuca?) roots are brown and long and waxy; they look kind of gnarly and not very tasty. On the inside, under their thick fibrous skin, they are snow-white, hard like turnips, slightly astringent, and, well. . . well, they do not seem very tasty inside, either. When raw.

When cooked, they soften tremendously, and break apart so as to resemble a tree-trunk that’s been exposed to the elements for millenia. Once adequately boiled, yucca roots (aka cassava) can be mashed to produce a product similar to mashed potatoes, though stickier. The mashed yucca can be eaten as a base for thick stews and sauces, much like soft polenta. Or it can be used as a “dough” to wrap around cheese and deep fry, like risotto balls (arancini).

BUT. Fried like potatoes is my favorite by far. Much more texturally and visually pleasing than mash, but way easier than crumb-rolled-stuffed-fry-ball-things. Here’s how to make that happen, plus a neat dipping sauce I made with stuff from my pantry.

When you pick out a yucca, go for the smaller, thinner ones. Yuccas have a fibrous “core” that runs down the center that should be removed, but the small, skinny ones are less likely to have much of that. Meaning, less work for you.

Yucca Fries Recipe


Yucca Fries and Raisin Ketchup!

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  • Author: Hilah Johnson


  • 1 yucca root (a small one, about 1 pound, will do for two people easily)
  • Vegetable oil (just about 1/4″ deep in a skillet)
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper


  1. Peel the yucca with a vegetable peeler. Make sure to remove not only the brown part, but also all the purplish-part under that. Your peeled yucca should be white white white.
  2. Cut it into slices about 2″ wide, then cut those in half to make thick half-moons.
  3. Put the yucca in a pot and cover with water; put a lid on it.
  4. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-high.
  5. Cook about 20 minutes, then check. When the yucca pieces are kind of busted-open, they are ready. It may take up to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove gently with a slotted spoon and set on a cutting board to cool. As they cool they will firm up again.
  7. Once cool, slice each half-moon “with the grain” to give several 1/2″ x 2″ pieces. If you run into any fibrous bits, pull those out. Yuck.
  8. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet until hot. Add your yucca pieces and fry for about 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip and turn until all sides are golden.
  9. Remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with equal parts salt and cayenne pepper. Serve immediately with:

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Tomato-Raisin Ketchup


  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce to taste
  • salt, if necessary


  1. Combine all in a blender and puree. Begin with 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar and adjust upwards to your liking.
  2. Serve with yucca fries.
  3. This will keep a week refrigerated, but will set up like jelly due to the pectin in the raisins. To soften, just microwave for a few seconds and stir.



  1. Great Stone Face on August 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Delicious. We like them with Salvadorean food. They’re also very filling, so be prepared to share.

    • Hilah on August 24, 2011 at 7:47 am

      Yum! We had them with Cuban chicken in mojo and a green salad. They were very filling but we ate them all between two of us, anyway. 😉

  2. Bev Weidner on August 24, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Dude, YES. I’m so making this happen in my life.

    • Hilah on August 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

      They’re actually seemingly impossible to screw up, too. Unlike every time I’ve tried to make regular potato fries.

  3. Great Stone Face on August 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Totally off the top of my head, since I’ve never cooked yucca/cassava: When twice-frying potato French fries, I’ve sprinkled them with cornstarch before the second fry, to increase the crunch. Would that work for yucca fries, or s it uncesssary? How about masa de harina, instead of cornstarch?

    • Hilah on August 24, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      They were surprisingly crunchy, actually! I suspect the starch content is much higher than potatoes so maybe that is why they are so easy to crisp. But I might try cornstarch the next time I fry plantains!

  4. Dea on August 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Hey Hilah!! Thas awesome! Yucca Fries are traditional in Brazil as Wings in US!! 😀 Love to see that you are spreading the world of good stuff we already knew about it!! We have so many recipes to make using yucca… Let me know if you are interesting in something else, I might be able to translate you some 🙂

    keep the good work!!

    Cheers from Brazil

    • Hilah on August 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Hello, Dea!
      I’m glad you approve of my method! I tell you, these really are great. Since you offered… I was at a Brazilian restaurant last weekend and had what was described on the menu as “mashed yuca” but it was more like really crunchy breadcrumbs made of yucca. Any idea how to make that or what it’s called?
      Thanks for writing and I hope you come back!

  5. Jane on August 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I want them in my face, pronto. I made the grievous error of reading this post after going to the store and ignoring all the delicious yucca potential upinthere. I used to frequent a Cuban restaurant that made yucca chips with a super spicy aioli for dipping and I loved them so…now Ima have to make the shit out of these fries!!

    • Hilah on August 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

      Oh, Jane.

      When will you learn?

      Just kidding! I’m glad you can get yucca roots in your neck. We also dipped them in some mojo sauce that was not spicy, but delicious nonetheless. I need to make spicy aioli, though. STAT.

  6. Randy on August 25, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Sounds great! I am really eager to try your ketchup recipe. I’ve been looking for a recipe for a few months now, since it’s getting harder and harder to find (meaning a longer and longer drive) Del Monte in Austin.

    • Hilah on August 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      Oh man, I haven’t had Del Monte in forever. I forgot they made ketchup. Maybe this recipe is similar. Let me know!

  7. Jordan on August 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

    your a freeking food wizard. To bad you can’t grow a merlin beard.

    • Hilah on August 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Whee! Thank you! Maybe that will be my Halloween costume…

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