Masaco de yuca is traditionally eaten in the afternoon at teatime. In Eastern Bolivia, especially in Santa Cruz, Bolivians favor salty food to sweet when accompanying their tea or coffee, even in the morning.
Mashed Manioc (Masaco de Yuca)
- 1 pound of pork chicharrón (grilled or roast pork)
- 3 Yuccas
- Salt to taste
Probably one of the easiest recipes you can make. Peel your yucca roots with a knife (or purchase them canned). Wash and slice them into chunks (it doesn’t have to be pretty, this is just to help them cook faster than cooking them whole). Boil them for about 30 minutes, or a little longer, until they are completely soft. Drain and set aside.
Cut the pork into small pieces. Now, normally chicharrón = chunks of pork (some with and some without pork rind (but you have to have some rind, that’s the flavor secret) and these are NOT the “Cheetos” type fluffy snackfood pork rinds you find in a package in the potato chips isle.
Some of the pork may also be with and some without bone, some with and some without fat on them) and it’s all fried up in a huge pot (really enormous, like it would cover all 4 burners of your stove) with oil. That’s because usually in Bolivia you purchase the chicharron already fried and the ladies who sell it fry many pounds at a time.
You might ask yourself why fry pork in oil when it’s already super greasy. The answer is, the pork has to be completely toasted all the way through, and MOST of the chicharrón is PORK RIND. But for health’s sake, you don’t have to do that. There will be a variation in the flavor, but that’s OK. Basically, you want your pork to be very thoroughly roasted and somewhat greasy (there’s a reason for this).
When you’ve finished roasting your pork, mash the yucca into a fine paste until the texture is similar to mashed potatoes. There should be very few (if any) chunks of yucca. Also, yucca root has a thick string that runs all the way down the center (sort of like a candlewick). That should be removed.
When your yucca is completely mashed and soft, take the pieces of pork meat in your hands and pull the meat apart into little pieces, shredding it with your hands and adding it to the yucca.
When you’ve finished adding the mean, add just a little of the pork fat (about 1-2 tablespoons) to the yucca and meat and knead the mixture with your hands until everything is completely mixed. If necessary add salt to taste.
If it is too dry, add a little oil, just a little bit at a time. The secret is for the masaco not to be or taste at all oily, but not to be at all dry either. It should just be smooth.
Scoop the masaco into small cups or bowls. This is just to give it a shape. Then turn them over and empty them out onto a small plate and serve.
Usually, masaco is served warm, but you can also enjoy it cool. If you must reserve and refrigerate it, cover it or the yucca will dry out. Serve with tea or coffee. Desserts are not really that customary which is why most desserts are of foreign origin.