This recipe is shared by a few Central American countries. In Nicaragua, Guatemala and neighboring El Salvador, this dish called Yuca con Chicharrón is often a street food eaten without utensils. It can also be a side dish for home-cooked meals. This recipe was inspired by the street vendors of the east-central region of Guatemala, where buses full of passengers travel from the capital on the Atlantic highway, passing by many food shacks along the way. When the buses stop for fuel, eager street vendors rush toward them with large flat baskets full of cooked treats. Sometimes they even board the buses, filling the air with delicious aromas.
Serves 2 to 4 people
6 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh unpeeled yuca, cut into 1-inch slices
1 batch Curtido Crudo (spicy lime cabbage slaw, recipe below)
1/2 cup crushed crispy pork rind
Curtido Crudo (spicy lime cabbage slaw): In a bowl, thoroughly mix 3 cups shredded cabbage; 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice; 1/2 cup julienned carrots or red bell pepper; 1 thinly sliced Serrano, jalapeño, or other hot pepper of choice; and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a quick boil and add the salt. Add the yuca and cook it until it is soft, but not mushy (about 15 minutes).
Drain the yuca in a colander in the sink. Let the yuca cool slightly. Peel it as you would peel potatoes. Run a paring knife under and around the skin to remove it. Take out the inner core and discard it. With a fork, break the yuca pieces into small chunks, but do not mash them.
Serve the yuca topped with the slaw and pork rind.
Frozen yuca is available at Latino markets throughout the United States. It is also available fresh at some grocery stores. It takes a bit of time and effort to cut and peel the fresh yuca, but this can save you some money. Crispy pork rind is available at Latino markets by the meat section.