UPC’s Baked Yuca Chips with Coconut Aminos
So… How did you all enjoy my running in the snow-storm pictures? Have you ever gone for a run in the snow? Have you ever noticed how quiet, peaceful, and serene everything is while that snow is slowly, silently falling around you, filling the world with a fog of white? It’s nothing short of amazing, and even more so in a heavily populated area during the day. There’s plenty of noise out there – and it’s just incredible that a completely normal and natural occurrence can make that noise entirely and completely fade into nothingness. If running is meditative, then running while it’s snowing is like being in the middle of a living dream. Ok, enough with the running for now.
The weather here has been brilliantly sunny, stunningly beautiful, and bone-chillingly cold. The weather man said on the news yesterday day it’s 13 degrees colder here in the NYC area than it was in Anchorage Alaska. Brilliantly sunny doesn’t always go with “nice out”… This temperature is NOT conducive to enjoying an outside run. So, here’s my suggestion: Bundle up! Unless you have a cold-triggered allergic asthma, just putting on an extra layer should make enough of a difference so that you can still go out for your daily workout and enjoy yourself. I grew up in northern Vermont, where it gets truly cold. My father always used to say: “If you’re cold, that means you’re not wearing enough.” To him, it was as simple as that. If you’re cold, put on another layer. Problem solved! And let me tell you, that philosophy served me well in my skiing, playing in the snow, and yes, even running! Put on another layer, wear enough to keep warm, and then continue doing what you’re doing!
Now let’s talk about Yuca
Yuca is the perfect food for someone who’s interested in Paleo and Slow-Cooked foods. Prepared traditionally (it’s the only way, as far as I’m concerned!) yuca is first skinned, cut to about 3-4 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 1/2 inch thick pieces, or “chips”, then boiled, and then fried. It’s a lot of work, but it turns out to be very worth the effort! Yuca is very starchy, so it’s quite a challenge to eat raw; it would take a lot of chewing. In addition to the challenge that it presents trying to chew it raw, it also wouldn’t taste very good. Because it’s so starchy, there’s not a whole lot of flavor in the yuca root. However, when you boil it down, something about the boiling process brings out some of the sweetness (I could talk chemical reactions here, but I don’t think most of you want that…) in the yuca, making it approachable as a food. Then, when you fry it, that crispy golden skin caramelizes the sugars on the outside of the yuca, while giving it a crispy texture. The end result is a quite pleasant, mild side dish, perfect for dipping in sauces or as a compliment to a much more powerfully flavored meal.
I’ve showcased Yuca before, in my post about Yuca Fries and Green Olive Tapenade. In that post, I fried them, and the golden crispy chips in those photos perfectly showcase what you can get when you fry your yuca. That’s a great way to prepare them as finger food for guests, or for a meal outdoors. In today’s recipe I baked them. I was looking for a different experience, and hoped that baking them would yield enough of a different flavor and texture that it would be exciting. It did, but with a caveat: I think this is an excellent way to prepare yuca if you’re going to be adding a sauce (like the coconut aminos I used in today’s meal). However, baking doesn’t caramelize the yuca. So while the flavor is different, it took an already mild flavored food and reduced the flavor impact. At this point, it’s almost a blank-slate – which makes it perfect for a strong sauce like my cilantro sauce!
Here’s a link for the Liquid Coconut Aminos that I used: Coconut Secret Raw Organic Vegan Coconut Aminos
Another way to prepare yuca, after boiling it of course, would be to slow-cook it in honey, cinnamon, and raisins. I might try this with caramelized orange peels and cranberries too, now that I think about it. The result is a very rich, somewhat sweet dessert which is incredibly delicious and satisfying. Don’t worry, now that I’ve discussed it here my mouth is watering, and I’ll definitely showcase it soon!
In addition to the below recipe, I make these two dishes along side the Baked Yuca Chips:
UPC’s Twisted Greens:
- Salad mix, your favorite (for this flavor, I prefer Arugula)
- Button Mushrooms
- Olive Oil
UPC’s Baked Yuca Chips with Coconut Aminos; How to make them:
- 1 large Yuca Root
- Coconut Aminos (or other sauce)
- Peel the yuca.
- Slice it into 3-4 inch long sections, then cut 1 inch by ½ inch (approximately) chips out of those 3-4 inch slices.
- Boil the chips in water for 5-10 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 (F).
- Remove from the water and let dry for 5 minutes, then place on a silicone baking mat (will also work with wax paper, parchment paper, or tin foil) and bake for 20 minutes.
- Flip the chips after 10 minutes of bake time.
- After baking, dribble some Liquid Coconut Aminos over each Yuca Chip individually, making sure that you have pretty good coverage.
- Now serve and enjoy!
It's perfectly OK if these are larger than that - they'll be great up to about 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.
Dribble the Coconut Aminos:
The sooner you start after baking, the better. The hot, dry yuca chips will soak in the flavor of the liquid coconut aminos. The end result will be a delicious combination of the yuca texture and the coconut aminos flavor.
This will work great with the Cilantro Sauce that I have linked in the article above. Similarly, this will go well with any Olive Tapenade, and nearly any salsa, chutney, or spread. Enjoy it!