Yuca Hash Browns

 
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Somehow these are even better than normal hash browns, which I didn’t think was possible. Yuca (pronounced yo͞oka, also called cassava and not to be confused with yucca) is one of the most powerful foods you can use to shift the gut microbiome. It is so effective in supporting healthy gut microbes that its effect can last for an extended period of time after consumption, even after it has long passed through you, and even I have underestimated its benefit for supporting a healthy metabolism. But, just like almonds, yuca is high in cyanide compounds and must be prepared properly in order to mitigate any risk in consuming it (it is only dangerous if you consume it excessively without adequate preparation, in which case it can cause neurological damage, especially in children). This involves boiling in water which in turn leeches out the water soluble cyanide compounds. The small amount of cyanide remaining may even be the part which is beneficial to our physiology, as humans have some resistance to cyanide compounds and it is more common in the foods we eat than you might think. If prepared correctly, Yuca is extremely delicious and there are many recipes for it available. Yuca is a hardy, easy to grow crop which requires little attention and provides an abundance of nutrition, and is commonly available in the grocery store and looks like a dense, brown, woody taproot. If your grocer doesn’t carry it request that they do. You can also find it available online, also sold as cassava flour, although that flour is often sold as just the cassava starch which is what tapioca is, and is only good for thickening dishes and does not have the same health benefits. Real cassava flour is more coarse and mealy. It is helpful to have a non-stick pan, but if you are like me and avoid commercial non-stick pans because of the toxic chemicals they contain you can use a ceramic pan, or you can use oil to prevent sticking. To use the oil method all you do is coat the pan in 1 tbsp of oil and heat until it just starts to smoke, then add the rest of the oil and begin cooking. This creates a thin polymer layer on the bottom of the pan, and the heat immediately sears starches and proteins to help prevent sticking. Yuca is extremely starchy so some sticking may still occur, and I just use a plastic pancake turner turned upside down to pry those parts from the pan.

YUCA HASH BROWNS

1-2 yuca root depending on size, peeled and grated large
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp coconut oil (more as needed)

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add grated yuca. Boil for 5 minutes then drain well. It may appear goopy and gelatinous. In a large frying pan heat coconut oil on high. Add salt to the oil (this both flavors the hash and draws water away from the starch). When the oil is hot carefully add yuca in 1-3 batches depending on how much you can fit and how much you are making. It’s very easy to over-salt hash browns so err on the side of less, not more. If you do use more than one batch add new oil and salt to pan each time. Be very cautious as the hot oil can splatter and burn. Never leave unattended. Allow yuca to brown on one side before turning. Repeat this process until yuca is golden brown and crispy throughout. If the oil appears to vanish you can use more. Serve with fried or poached eggs, with ketchup or hot sauce, or whichever way you like to have hash browns. Alternatively you use paprika or cajun seasoning by mixing into the yuca after boiling but before frying. Personally I like them simply browned with salt with eggs.