Muchines de yuca are an Ecuadorian specialty from the city of Guayaquil. Yuca is the edible root of the cassava (or manioc) plant. It's very starchy with a distinct but mild flavor, and one of the best ways to enjoy yuca is fried. (Yuca fries are about as popular as potato fries in South America).
Muchines de yuca have a "dough" made of grated yuca, which is wrapped around a filling of cheese or meat. The muchin is then deep-fried, which gives it a crispy exterior and soft interior.If you can't find fresh yuca root, you can often find frozen yuca that has already been peeled with the fibrous parts removed at Latin groceries.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: About 15 medium fritters
- 2-3 pounds yuca, frozen or fresh
- 2 white onions
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 packages Goya seasoning with annato (achiote)
- 2 egg yolks
- For the Filling:
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teapsoon cumin
- 1/4 cup beef stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 hard-boiled eggs (optional)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Prepare the filling: Coarsely chop 1 onion, and mince the garlic. Place a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium skillet and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and fragrant.
- Add the ground pork, 1 packet of Goya seasoning, and cumin to the pork and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pork is well browned.
- Add the beef borth and simmer pork over low heat for several minutes, until most of the excess liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool. Stir in some pieces of chopped hard boiled egg if desired.
- Prepare the yuca "dough": If using fresh yuca, peel the yuca (a vegetable peeler works well) and remove the stringy inner fibers at the center of the root.
- Grate the peeled yuca and the onion as finely as possible using a hand grater or a food processor. Place the grated yuca and onion in a strainer or between some paper towels and press firmly to remove any excess liquid.
- When yuca is as dry as possible, stir the egg yolks, salt, and one packet of Goya seasoning into the grated yuca. Shape the muchines: Place a generous tablespoon of the yuca mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten it to cover your palm. Add a spoonful of the pork mixture to the center of your palm, then use another tablespoon of the yuca to cover the filling. Carefully shape the muchin into an oval shape, trying to fully seal the pork inside of the yuca dough.
- Place the shaped fritters on a couple of paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.
- Fill a heavy pot with tall sides with 2 to 3 inches of oil, and carefully heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil reaches about 360 degrees (a piece of the yuca dough should sizzle when it hits the oil), gently lower the fritters into the oil, working in batches if necessary. Fry yuca fritters until they are a deep golden brown, then drain them on paper towels to absorb any excess oil while they cool.
- Serve muchines warm with aji sauce or salad.
- Makes about 15 3-inch fritters.