Words and Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
Shown: Luis Simón
You might think by its many aliases yuca is running from the law…or at least Michael Pollan. Around the world, yuca goes by many names including: cassava, manioc, balinghoy, mogo, mandioca, tapioca-root and kamoteng. My take is, you can call yourself whatever you want when you’re the third-largest source of food carbs in the tropics (after rice and corn).
Yuca is the woody looking root fugitive that is a staple food in the developing world because of its ability to grow in drought regions. Its sweet or bitter interior cooks up to be a large part of the basic diet of over half a billion people.
I’d eaten my fair share of yuca while cooking on yachts in the Caribbean, but it wasn’t until Luis Simón shared his recipe with us for his Yuca con mojo that I really took note of it’s depth. A sweet sour taste that melds perfectly with the creamy smoothness and heat of black beans. For now, let’s just take in the beauty of the plant itself. I know it as cassava. You can call it whatever you want.