“When I serve these yuca and fonio croquettes appetizers during cocktail hour at events, some people will burn their fingers and tongues to get more. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on theinside, they never fail to gratify.”
Yucca is a root vegetable that grows in regions with subtropical climates, like West Africa and Mexico. Also known as cassava, yucca is a dense, starchy food that’s rich in carbohydrates. It’s a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin C, and potassium. You find yuca/cassava in the produce section of most grocery stores or check with local ethnic markets. It may also be found peeled and cut in the frozen food section.
They are served with a Tamarind Glaze for dipping. Tamarind is a tropical fruit with health benefits. It’s native to Africa but also grows in India, Pakistan and many other tropical regions. The tree produces bean-like pods filled with seeds surrounded by a fibrous pulp. The pulp of the young fruit is green and sour. As it ripens, the juicy pulp becomes paste-like and more sweet-sour. The paste can be prepared from pods or purchased as blocks. If not at your local grocery store try Chinese, Asian or Indian food stores or purchase online.
This recipe is used with permission from Chef Pierre Thiam. Find more of his recipes in his book Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl and on his website.
2 yuca, peeled, diced, cooked and mashed
1 cup cooked fonio
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 garlic, chopped
2 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 egg yolks
Peanut oil for frying
- In a large bowl, combine mashed yuca, cooked fonio, scallion, garlic, milk and pepper.
- Shape into small balls approximately the size of a golf ball.
- Fry in medium hot peanut (or vegetable) oil until golden brown.
- Serve immediately with Tamarind glaze (recipe below) for dipping.
TAMARIND DIPPING GLAZE
1 cup tamarind paste
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- Soak tamarind paste in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes until tamarind dissolves in water and makes a thick but runny paste.
- Add remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning.
- The glaze can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
- Serve as a dipping sauce for the croquettes