Elected by the United Nations organization, the UN, as the 21st century’s food, it has been reverenced for a long time here and got the title of “Queen of Brazil”. Its majesty, the yuca, already prevailed long before the Portuguese colonizers disembarked in Tupiniquim lands.
It was the disposition secret of the antient native people and became the energy source for lots of Europeans that, on this side of the Atlantic, exchanged wheat bread by beiju. In fact, over 500 years passed, today we observe a very similar movement: the French bread is losing it’s throne to tapioca.
Diversifying the menu is always a good request, even more so when the replacing ingredient is rich in precious substances. In the case of that root which, per the region, is known as yuca or macaxeira, we should pay attention to two kinds of carbohydrates, the amylopectin and the amylose.
The duo causes glucose to be released more slowly into the body. And that noble process avoids blood’s sugar spikes, which spares the pancreas of exhaustive work, reducing the risk of type II diabetes. Still thanks to the majestic starch and fiber duo the feeling of satiety lasts longer, which attenuates binge eating. As if that was not enough, the mechanism ensures long periods of breath, being the reason for having energy to spare.
Versatile, yuca is the queen of Brazilian cuisine, amongst its derivatives, the flour reigns in countryside cuisine and accompanies foods from beans to dried meat, going through stewed dishes, amongst other delicacies. The tacacá, broth that only filled the gourds in the Northern Region, is now appreciated also in restaurants more to the south of the country.
Currently, however, the biggest success derivate from the root is, with no doubt, the tapioca. And there the creativity of the cuca-master counts points, for better or for worse. In the original recipes, the fish, the grated coconut and the queijo coalho are the filling options, but it is now possible to find versions with condensed milk, brigadeiro and the such.
The northern delicacy makers must find such foolishness strange. To make things worse, the inventions usually add loads of calories and put the silhouette at risk.
Better come up with more lightweight alternatives.
More colorful and nutritius yuca
For the ones who enjoy the natural flavor of the vegetable, it is suggested to cook it with an oil thread to retain the nutrients. Besides the carbs, the yuca provides us with fibers, offers vitamin C and minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium.
And, by means of research and cross breading, its white pulp has been tarnished with shades of yellow from the carotenoids, pigments famous for the potent antioxidant action and protection against aging diseases.
When buying, check if the root has a uniform color – white or yellow, depending on the quality, but never gray, refuse the ones that present spots or dark grooves, and a secret to make them soft is to keep them under the cooking water until served.
Sago: made from yuca’s starch, these little balls become deliciously gelatinous when moistened. They usually appear in the preparation of a sweet dish with wine, clove and sugar.
Yuca powder: it results from the decantation of yuca and goes through a stage of fermentation. The sour kind is used in cheese bread and sequilhos. The sweet kind, on the other hand, is an ingredient for chipa, a biscuit of the Paraguayan cuisine. Prioritize the fresh powder, less industrialized, that have a more striking flavor.
Flour: the most popular derivative comes up after the yuca is pealed, left under water and wringed. The flour is used in the recipes of pasta and cakes and is base of the traditional farofa, that goes well with bean stew and jabá, amongst other dishes.
Tapioca: the gum used for the recipe is the product left at the bottom of the pan during the extraction of the flour. When preparing, prioritize the fresh ingredient to better feel its good taste.