Manihot Esculenta – Yuca, Cassava, Manioc, Mogo started to appear on the markets here about ten years ago with the arrival of Equadorians and Bolivians who came to work in Spain. It has been cultivated in Peru for more than 4,000 years and is more of a staple in South America than potatoes. Nowadays it is also grown extensively in Africa and Asia. It can be simply boiled and mashed, cut into fat fingers and fried like chips, or dried and ground into flours of various levels of fineness for making from cous cous style grains to sweet cakes.
The tapioca of school dinner infamy is made from Yuca – but don’t let that put you off from trying it in a different form. The chips I have to say I found dry and a bit hard, but do try them. The dumplings I love. They have a firm slightly glutinous texture and a bit of sweetness. I love them with spicy curries instead of rice, with sweet and sour sauce as a vegetarian dish, and in soups, again because of the slight sweetness they fit better with a spicy soup.
I have totally forgotten where I came across this recipe, I am constantly collecting recipes and food ideas from magazines and newspapers, so it may well have come into my life that way, the original bit of paper now long lost but the method firmly locked into my memory.
Top and tail the yuca root and then peel it with a potato peeler. Wash it and then grate finely. This is easier done with a food processor.
Take a handful of the grated root and squeeze it into a small cylinder. This may seem difficult at first, but with pressure and turning it in your hand the pulp will start to stick together.
Put the dumpling on a small square of tin foil and wrap it into a parcel. If you wanted to be truly authentic, then I suppose a banana leaf would be a better wrapper.
Steam for 45 minutes. Let cool in the steamer.
Once they are cool enough to handle they can be unwrapped and used.
Any surplus dumplings will freeze well. I recommend taking them out of the tin foil to freeze them as the foil disintegrates in the freezer and leaves bits on the dumplings which is not very nice. You can tell that I am speaking from hard experience here.
Next post the Spicy Fish Stew with Yuca Dumplings illustrated below to whet your appetite.