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Apr 7, 2012 11:43 AM

Yuca instead of potatoes - salt cod recipe

I like this recipe and other similar recipes that use potatoes. However, since potatoes are no longer an option in our house, I'm wondering what you think yuca would be like in this dish.

I know, I know: "Try it and let us know." Nope, I can't risk it. But I am thinking of making it minus potatoes - but then, how good could 'that' be!


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  1. I wonder if there is a similar recipe from Brazil or even Puerto Rico that uses this cod and yuca.
    is an Ecuadorian fish soup that includes yuca

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      You are sooo knowledgeable! "Fish Soup!"

      My newly purchased "The South American Table" contains some salt cod recipes, but looking for "fish soup" in this book, I found a recipe entitled "Ecuadorian Fish Soup with Green Plantains and Yuca."

      My plantains on hand are half-way, but no matter. The author gives choices/examples for the different countries' cuisine; i.e., coconut milk, fish heads for broth, and the different fish which are good choices.

      Looks like one could use this recipe ad infinitum for 'fish soup."
      Thanks so much!

      1. re: Rella

        Salt cod isn't commonly used in Ecuador (they have plenty of fresh fish), but there is one dish where it is traditional - fanesca

        This an Easter/Good Friday stew that incorporates '12 grains', ie. the kitchen sink, and bacalao, most likely a nod to traditional Spanish lenten fare.

        1. re: paulj

          Ah ha! I see this also in my "The South American Table" p. 275, Fanesca "Ecuadorian Easter Salt Cod and Vegetable Stew" serves 10 or 12. It is sometimes called "la comida del hambre" (food for the hungry.)

          One needs all the family and friends one can get for this recipe. The author writes "... is labor-intensive and requires a lot of hands. Preparation usually starts two to three days ahead." "When prepared in stages, it is not such a chore."

          For 1 pound of salt cod, one uses beans, corn, and then more beans, and then peas, and then more beans (hehehe), winter squash, cabbage, rice, scallions and leeks, cheese, cream cheese, lots of cream, some peanuts.

          She writes, "As the story goes, there should have been 12 different grains and legumes to signify the 12 Apostles."

          This one must have some planning for NEXT Easter.
          Thanks for the beautiful link.

    2. You can use yucca in place of the potatoes and it should work fine. 2" thick slices will take about 20 min. if fresh or 10 if frozen.
      The texture will not be waxy like the potato called for but still very potato like.

      1. I use WHITE yautia and add it to New England clam chowder all the time with excellent results. Yautia has a slightly creamier consistency than yuca, and it cooks up a whole lot better with no mushy results. HTH.

        23 Replies
        1. re: Cheese Boy

          I looked up yautia

          and it seems it is also called Malanga. Here are some pictures i took at the grocery a while back when I was trying to figure out all the yams, etc.

          Is the yautia pictured the same as my pics of Malanga?

          1. re: Rella

            Rella, they probably cook up exactly the same AND likely with the same results.
            I say this because they mirror each other. Look at this link and see for yourself.
            The WHITE yautia I buy looks more like the RED Malanga in your pics.
            I'm pretty certain that either one would work fine for you.

            Look -->

            1. re: Cheese Boy

              I'm beginning to think all of these yam-types will work well, and I love them,too.
              On one link, I had to laugh at (paraphrasing) "yuca is not the same as yucca - one grows on a bush/tree."

              In a similar vein, I recall doing a search on sweet potatoes (here in the U.S.) because there were two kinds in my mind; one dry and light yellow, the other was wet and orange. After weeks of friendly advice, I gave up and finally found what I wanted in an Asian store, probably it is a kokuma but grown in the U.S. that I was looking for.

              1. re: Rella

                Rella, I'm going to humor you a little bit more. My experience with sweet potatoes is just go out and buy the Japanese ones -- NOT Chinese, NOT Korean,
                BUT Japanese yams. Those are the best ones IMHO (if you can find them).
                I like them especially because they're the most forgiving and the most flavorful.
                Good sweet potatoes should always cook up firm, tasty, and even have a somewhat "chestnutty" flavor to them. JMO.

                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  I like the small ones I find at Korean groceries just as well as the larger 'Japanese' variety. Both are good eaten plain, even without salt.

                  1. re: paulj

                    I really like the kokuma, which I believe is Korean.
                    I love sweet potatoes so much that I can eat them plain, as well. My least favorite ones, tho, are the common WET ORANGE sweet potato which is everywhere to be purchased, but I will certainly never refuse it.

                  2. re: Cheese Boy

                    In the FoodMaxx where I shop now (and sometimes in the Asian markets near Fairfax VA, I have not seen any sweet potatoes labeled Japanese sweet potatoes - only Okinawan, as I recall. I will certainly take note in my wee brain :-)) that the next time I see "Japanese" in the sweet potato label, I will grab them up. Do you recall what Japanese name they might be referred to, other than "Japanese sweet potato"?

                    1. re: Rella

                      I buy these at Asian markets (e.g. 99Ranch, HMart), where they are labeled explicitely as Japanese.


                      I've seen ones that have purple flesh, but haven't tried them. I should.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Thanks. I put the pic in my cell phone.

                      2. re: Rella

                        "Japanese" is the operative word.
                        Sounds silly, but it's true.
                        Look for Japanese Yams.
                        It's all we can do.

                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                          OK Cheeseboy - I've been searching. First I went to my local store, and showed them paulj's pic which I had put on my cell phone. Two buyers think the Japanese sweet potato is the 'kokuma.' One of them (a Korean man) thinks the kokuma is Korean.

                          I went to the bookstore and found this book
                          Encyclopedia of Japanese Cuisine
                          which explains that
                          "“Satsuma-imo (Ipomoea batatas L.) It was brought from China in 1597 via Okinawa to Kagoshima and Nagasaki, Kyushu Island. Since then, the production of statsuma-imo (my comment: it must be a typo) had spread because of its use as an emergency crop. Satsuma-imo means ‘potato from Satsuma (late name of Kagoshima) province.”
                          Continuing on to the next paragraph, it says,

                          “The common Satsuma-imo has white flesh with purple skin, which when cooked the flesh becomes slightly yellowish and sweet.”

                          First of all, when it says the latin name, (Ipomoea batatas L.)
                          my opinion is that many sweet potatoes are the latin name that they reference:
                          (Ipomoea batatas L.)
                          and therefore it doesn't tell me much.

                          1. re: Rella

                            99Ranch (California Chinese chain) had:
                            sweet japanese yams - 1 lb each,
                            and 3 smaller ones:
                            red yams (half the diameter; skin not quite as dark)
                            white yams
                            purple yams (white skin, with dark spots)

                            1. re: Rella

                              Rella, I'm laughing to myself because these sweet potatoes
                              (of various origins) look all so much alike, and depending on who you ask, you'll likely get a different answer each time. There's no doubt that the purple skin sweet potato is indigenous to somewhere, and it seems that a lot of people are just laying claim to it I guess. As of now, Japanese is still the best choice for quality (even if it made its way over from China).

                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                All the sweet potatoes are the same species; but different cultivars. Apparently the origin is central/south America, though it traveled to the Pacific Island and Asia before Columbus.


                                My guess is that what I'm finding labeled as 'Japanese yam' is a cultivar developed in Japan suited to their tastes and cooking methods. For example its low moisture, and not too sweet flavor works well in tempura.

                                My favorite squash is a Japanese variety, Kabocha. The name derives from 'Cambodia', suggesting the route it took from the Americas to Japan (via Portuguese traders?). And much of the US crop is exported to Japan, though I think the last one I bought is from Mexico.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  The longer I study/research yams/sweet potatoes, no wonder I'm confused: 6,500 different types.

                                  Yes, squash is so easy for me, nothing tastes better than a butternut squash - so far.

                                  1. re: Rella

                                    My new special dinner dish - baked stuffed kabocha. I got this from Dorie Greenspan's French cookbook, and would work with any hollow squash or pumpkin, but the kabocha is just the right size and taste. Cut it open like a jackolantern, and fill with a stuffing of your choice (e.g. bread, good ham, cheese, herbs, cream), and bake till tender (1-2 hrs).

                                1. re: paulj

                                  Mr. Cheese boy, is the Japanese sweet potato you are referring to similar in appearance to the one on paulj's link described as the Satsuma-imo.

                                  I know that I've eaten many of these previously and love them, but would anyone agree that these are almost, if not identical to what is referred to as the kokuma sweet potato?

                                  1. re: Rella

                                    Looks to me like kokuma, or goguma, is Korean for sweet potato. The ones that I've bought at HMart, from a large pile just labeled 'new crop', have similar color to the 'Japanese' (inside and out), but are smaller (an inch or so in diameter). They may be the same as what 99Ranch was calling 'red yam', but I'm not sure about that.


                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Next time I talk to "Billy" the Korean produce guy, I'm going to listen carefully for the "k" or "g." He's a happy guy and enjoys this sort of interest. As do the other ethnic workers there; many of whom cannot communicate as well as Billy, though.

                                      1. re: Rella

                                        The k/g distinction in Korean isn't the same as in English.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          Maybe he's second generation -- just kidding!

                                    2. re: Rella

                                      Yes, VERY similar to the Satsuma-imo. I prefer mine small and plump, as opposed to long and thin as in the picture. Paulj states that they are low moisture and less sweet, perfect for tempura. His description is spot on.

                  3. Sounds like you've got it all worked out. Given what a simple taste yuca is, I can't imagine it really tasting bad with anything.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jvanderh

                      Texture, too could be a concern in different preparations when using yuca.

                    2. Interesting conversation. Having lived for a bit in Colombia this dish seems familiar, minus the peanuts.