Chef School – Lesson 3

I want to take you back to the tropics and talk about another root/tuber. Let’s talk about Otoe aka Malanga, Yautia¬†¬†¬†

What is it?  


Otoe or Malanga has a brown, sorta hairy peel which is barely thicker than that of a potato. There are a few different varietals, some will have white flesh, while others have a beautiful purplish pink flesh. Both of them are speckled by little brown dots that look like pepper. The texture of malanga when cooked is very similar to a potato. It is often ground into a paste that can be made into flour.   


How do I select it?  

Squeeze it. Look for firm, well-formed tubers, free of blemishes. Malanga should be firm without any soft spots. It has a short shelf life, so make sure to make use of them as quickly as possible.  

How do I cook it?  

First, you need to peel it; a potato peeler works quite well. Use caution when peeling as the flesh tends to have a bit of slickness once the peel is removed. Trim both ends and any unsightly spots. Rinse and cube as needed.  

Once cooked, otoe will still have a slightly lilac color


Last week I provided some tips for picking yuca, check that post here.


Latin Fries, por favor.

Of course, the most popularly known are the French Fries, which aren’t really French, but I digress. In Panama, we eat tons of Yuca Frita (Fried Yuca). Sometimes they look like steak fries, or they may be chuncks of yuca. Regardless of how they’re cut, they’re delicious.

Check out this post for help picking and peeling the yuca. Once you’ve peeled the yuca, all you need to do is parboil it before frying.

In a medium pan, bring water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Then add the yuca, you don’t need to cut them to the size desired at this time. Allow it cook at a medium boil for about 8 minutes or until you’re able to pierce the flesh with a knife.

Remove from the water, drain and allow it cool before frying. Cut the yuca to the desired size. Heat up enough oil to deep fry the pieces, the oil’s temperature should be at 400¬į. Fry the yuca until golden brown, remove from the fryer and¬†¬†shake off excess oil. At this point you can reason with a little coarse salt.

Serve warm.