Boiled yucca with onions is a delicious side dish made with yuca root (a.k.a. cassava, tapioca) and red pickled onions. Yuca is one of the staples of the Dominican diet, usually eaten for breakfast or dinner. This nutritious root is starchy and has a bitter or sweet taste, depending on the crop. It can be boiled, fried or baked (as in cassava bread).
First things first: how to choose and peel yuca roots:
Yuca can be found in specialty food stores and supermarkets in major metropolitan areas of the United States that cater to a Latino clientele. You will find it next to other roots such as tarot. Yuca roots are long and brown, with skin that is rough and appears to be peeling off (see picture).
Since most of the roots will look the same, there is no way of choosing the right yuca judging by its outer appearance. Break the tip off the yuca with your hands or a knife. Choose the roots that are completely white inside (with no brown fibers or yellow color). Visible brown fibers mean the yucca will be inedible and a yellowish appearance means it will likely not soften during boiling, even if it turns out to be sweet (referred to as “yuca jojota”).
Once you get the right roots, you will need to peel and prepare them for storing or boiling. Watch this three-minute video to learn how to cut and peel the yuca roots.
Boiled yuca with onions (yuca encebollada)
- 2 big or 3 medium yuca roots aka. cassava roots
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Cut and peel the yucca roots as shown in the video above. Wash them in cool water.
- Slice the onion thinly and place in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and allow it to sit until ready to stir fry.
- In a medium to large sauce pan, add enough water to cover the yucca, plus a cup more (about 4 to 6 cups).
- Bring water to a boil with the pan covered.
- Once the water is boiling, add the yucca roots and leave pot semi-covered with the lid for 25 minutes.
- Poke the yuca with a knife. If it is soft, add a glass of cool water and the salt. Wait 5 minutes and turn off. If the yuccas are not soft, allow them to boil for 10 more minutes and check again.
- In a small frying pan, add the oil and allow it to heat on medium fire.
- Add the onions and stir until onions become soft and aromatic. Add a pinch of salt.
- Drain the water from the yucca and place on a serving dish. Add the onions and additional olive oil to your taste.
- Pair with serving suggestions below and enjoy!
Recipe NotesSome yuccas will not become soft regardless of how long they are boiled. In the Dominican Republic they are called "yucas jojotas". They are usually fine to eat and tend to be sweet, but won't become soft as other roots. If most of the roots you are boiling are soft but one or two pieces are jojotas, consider the batch ready to eat.
Left overs can be reheated in slightly salted boiling water or pan fried with cooking oil over medium temperature.
Boiled yuca with onions is great on its own, but consider serving it with one or more of the following: fried cooked salami, avocado slices, fried ham, sunny side up eggs, braised chicken, braised goat, roast pork or carnitas. Enjoy!