International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Muchines de Yuca

Muchines de yuca Ecuadoran appetizers

(Ecuadorian stuffed and fried cassava balls)

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Muchines de yuca are tasty cassava balls with a crunchy outside protecting a soft, savory filling. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish topped with little ají hot pepper sauce.

Makes about 12 muchines

Ingredients

  • Filling (see notes) -- 1 cup
  • Yuca (cassava), peeled and grated -- 1 pound
  • Onion, grated -- 1
  • Egg -- 1
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Oil for frying

Method

  1. First, prepare the filling of your choice according to directions below. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the yuca, onion, egg, salt and pepper.
  3. Place about 1/4 cup of the yuca mix in one hand and form a depression in the middle with your thumb. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the depression and fold the yuca over to enclose it. Form the yuca into an egg-shaped ball and squeeze out any excess moisture. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the yuca and filling.
  4. Heat oil 1 to 2 inches of oil in a skillet, deep pot or deep fryer over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add 3 to 4 muchines balls at a time and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn midway to brown both sides.
  5. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and serve hot.

Muchines de Yuca Variations

  • Cheese Filling: Use 1 cup of grated jack, mozzarella, Swiss or any melting cheese you prefer.
  • Pork Filling:
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 1/2 onion, minced
    • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
    • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
    • 1/2 pound ground pork
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium flame. Sauté the onion, parsley and cilantro in the oil until the onion is translucent.
    2. Add the pork, cumin and salt and sauté, breaking up meat, until the meat is cooked through.
    3. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and cook until mostly evaporated. Adjust seasoning to taste and set aside to cool.
  • Optional: A chopped hard-boiled egg may be stirred into the meat at the end if you like.

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