Friday, March 26, 2010

Fried yucca plant

While in Costa Rica, Josh and I ate at a number of small mom-and-pop restaurants called sodas. The one in the photo below, called Layunta Soda, which was located directly across the street from Casa Zen where we stayed in Santa Theresa, was our favorite. (It didn't make the cut for the restaurant section in our guide book as "places to eat", but it really should have been!) Rather than serve fried plantain with the comida tipica (otherwise known as casado) as is the tradition, this one served fried yucca plant. After our second meal there, I walked to the grocery store, bought a yucca plant and brought it back to the restaurant. In my best spanish possible, I asked the woman to show me how to prep and cook this long, thick-skinned brown potato-like veggie. She very graciously showed me how, and here is what I learned.

Pick a yucca plant that it fairly fat. The skin is thick, so use a cleaver and a hammer to cut the plant into 3 or 4 inch sections.

Using a small, sharp knife, make a slit down the middle of the plant, the long way. Using the edge of the knife, edge the blade under the skin and start to move the knife along until the whole skin comes off. Once you get this going a bit, the skin very easily detaches itself, usually in one piece.

Cut the pieces into 4 sections, the long way. The pieces will look like triangles with one round edge. Use the knife to cut away the tough, stringy little root that is at the pointed edge of these pieces. You may have to cut it out of one of the pieces, or all four, depending on how big it was. There may also be little knots in the flesh which you should also cut out and throw into the compost bin. Put the pieces in a pot, cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, cover and store in the fridge over night.

When you are ready to eat the yucca plant, heat a generous amount of oil in a deep fryer or a deep pot with a cover. Submerge the pieces of cooked yucca in the hot oil and fry for a few minutes, turning over once in a while. Remove from the oil an place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up some of the oil. The outside will be crispy and slightly yellowed, while the inside will be soft and white. Salt and pepper generously the tops of the cooked yucca.

Serve with casado con vegetales or as a side with black beans and rice.
Posted by Picasa


  1. This is really awesome.And thanks a lot for sharing this.I like your post and this delicious Food We Eat.

  2. I am so glad I found this site. I'm 61 and try to eat new foods which are really old foods, we have replaced real food with manufactured food.

  3. I recently returned To Arizona from Costa Rica where I only had the yucca plant once. It was difficult to find out that it was yucca as i do not speak spanish, so I did not even know what part of the plant it was, I can't wait to return to our property in Yucca Az. So I can try this as I know it is what I had and enjoyed so much. Now I can share it with my childern...Thx