Yuca con Mojo is a Cuban style cassava dish. The yuca or cassava is boiled until tender and then olive oil, orange juice and fresh garlic are cooked into a sauce which is poured over the boiled yuca before serving. Yuca con Mojo is typically eaten as a side dish to main meals.
Processing and cooking yuca root can be confusing to people unfamiliar with the ingredient. Yuca comes from the cassava plant and is not the same thing as yucca, which is a plant used for landscaping.
When using whole yuca, the tough root should be chopped into smaller pieces, peeled, rinsed and boiled well before being eaten. Thankfully, yuca can be purchased already peeled and ready to be cooked in the frozen food aisle or ethnic food section. On its own, yuca has a slightly sweet flavor and a rich starchy texture.
There are different types of mojo sauce including, green mojo, red mojo, spicy mojo, citrus mojo and garlic mojo. Cuban mojo is a combination of garlic and citrus and is often regarded as the most flavorful mojo sauce.
When bitter orange juice, used to make Cuban mojo cannot be found, a combination of juice from sour oranges with lemon or lime, though many argue does not impart the same flavor, it is generally acceptable.
Origin & Cultural Significance
While many parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America eat yuca, the addition of mojo sauce is unique and what makes this dish traditionally Cuban.
The name mojo comes from the word Molho, which is the Portuguese word for sauce. It’s believed that the first mojo sauce was brought to Cuba by migrants from the Canary Islands. Inhabitants of the Canary Islands were once settlers from Portugal who first introduced Molho.
- Yuca peeled & halved – 1 lb
- Olive oil – ½ cup
- Garlic cloves, minced - 8
- Onion, small, sliced - 1
- Naranja agria (bitter orange) juice - 1/3 cup
- Salt - 1 tbsp
- Pork belly, sliced (optional) - ½ lb
- Cilantro, finely chopped
- Peel off the yuca skin and cut into medium sized wedges.
- Rinse the yuca wedges and place into a large pot.
- Add water until wedges are completely covered.
- Bring to boil then add two teaspoons of salt. Let boil for 5 minutes.
- Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot, and set aside for 20 minutes or until the yuca is soft.
- In a saucepan, add cooking oil and pork belly and fry until golden
- Set the chicharrónes (fried pork belly) aside to drain on paper towels.
- Sauté the onions for 3 minutes then add olive oil to saucepan.
- Add the minced garlic, naranja agria (bitter orange) juice, and remaining salt. Stir continuously for five to seven minutes.
- To serve, place soft yucca wedges in a bowl, remove the fibrous core of the yuca if any, pour mojo garlic sauce over the yuca and add chopped up fried chicharrónes.
- Garnish with cilantro and add salt for taste.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 908mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g