Pan de Yuca

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Photo from laylita.com: http://laylita.com/recipes/2008/01/14/pan-de-yuca-pan-queso. Check out her recipe too!

I did some quick research to see if this was a recipe that the limited dieters among us could consume, and I’m not totally sure. Pan de yuca (pronounced yoo-ka)  is a really common, delicious bread here in Ecuador- it’s made with yuca starch, grated fresh cheese, and an egg. Yuca (also called cassava, manioc, or tapioca) starch appears to be paleo (sorry Nuna, I didn’t do any keto research), although most places mention that yuca doesn’t have any particular nutritional value, so it should be consumed in moderation. A brief google search for “is fresh cheese paleo” brought up a bunch of different results, mostly of people saying “it’s up to you”. And I know eggs are paleo! So Sarah, this could possibly be a recipe you could make, depending on your paleo choices. And it’s bread, so obviously I know that Rach will love it.

I’m not sure where you can find almidón de yuca (tapioca starch)- my guess is probably at any Latin specialty store, and definitely online. It’s obviously non-perishable, so I might try to bring some back with me in August too! I just use the recipe on the bag of starch that I buy here- it’s basically 500 g of yuca starch and 500 g of grated queso fresco. I don’t usually use that much cheese, and a fresh mozzarella would make a good substitute for queso fresco. My go-to for Ecua-food recipes, Laylita Pujol (www.laylita.com) includes a entire stick of butter in her recipe, but my bag of starch just calls for one egg and enough milk to moisten up the dough. Yuca starch is a lot like corn starch- it’s hard if you punch it fast, but if you’re “delicate” with the dough, it “liquifies”. So slowly, carefully add milk to the grated cheese/egg/starch mixture- you want to make sure that when you form the balls that will become the yuca bread, that they won’t spread apart when you put them on your baking sheet. I probably used about 1/4 cup of milk, but use a bit less at first. The recipe is pretty forgiving, so just remember a 1:1 starch: cheese ratio plus a beaten egg and some milk, and remember that you can use a bit less cheese if you want.

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chewiness inside

Then shape the dough into small balls, and place in your oven at high heat (my gas oven doesn’t have a thermometer, I’d guess about 400 F) for 10-15 minutes until they’re cooked- you’ll see flecks of browned cheese. The breads are chewy (tapioca starch…)- that’s their glory! So don’t worry if they seem a little chewy (see photo above). I cooked mine on my silpat and they slid off no problem- I love the silpat! Serve these little guys at your next dinner party, brunch, or evening soiree as an appetizer. To add to your cultural capital, feel free to say that your “Ecuadorian friend” taught you the recipe. (These are also called pao de queijo in Brazil and are somewhat common in Argentina and Colombia as well, so you can improvise with the nationality of your international friend.)

Let me know if you find tapioca starch, and what you think!

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6 thoughts on “Pan de Yuca

  1. duh – bread with cheese?! count me in! I haven’t seen any yucca starch here, but I bet I could find it at a specialty store. I forgot how tasty this is!

  2. Bob’s Red Mill makes tapioca flour, so I bet it’s not too hard to find here. Unfortunately, it looks like a quarter-cup would contain all the carb grams I can eat in a day, so this will have to be filed under “Post-Keto Recipes.” Because they look AMAZING. I’m guessing an almond flour version just wouldn’t be the same…

    1. Yeah, I’m not surprised about the carbs, but bummer that you have to wait! Is there an end date for the keto diet? Post-keto, you should make these for a party- that way other people will eat most of them, and you can try one or two without having to eat them all. And yes, almond flour definitely won’t work- the tapioca provides all of the trademark chewiness.

  3. Yum! I think there was a similar bread like this in Korea, made with what I can only assume was rice flour. Chewy and addictive!

  4. I found yucca starch in my cupboard the other day! I brought it back from Ecuador with me and made the bread a few times. Looks like I will be having it again soon! Also, I found an excellent El salvadorian restaurant by Patrick’s base last month and gorged on yucca fries. Then again last week at a Cuban place. So good!

    I love Laylita! I have been craving tree tomatoes and ceviche de chochos!!!

  5. Nicely fried yucca fries are the best! I made ceviche de chochos the other day and was going to post it but then didn’t because I didn’t want to post too much using ingredients that you guys can’t find. I made tree tomato aji to eat with the ceviche de chochos too- you’ll just have to come back to Ecuador to satisfy your cravings!

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