Crunchy on the outside, soft and cheese on the inside, these cheese-stuffed yuca balls are a simple and scrumptious appetizer that can only be made better with a tangy and perfectly delicious cilantro dressing.
The older my kids get the harder it is for me to get them to go to bed at night. As I write this post, I have already sent them to bed about four times and every time a new excuse arises.
"But mami, I'm not tired."
"But mami, I'm hungry."
"But mami, why?"
"But mami, wait! I have to use the bathroom."
Half an hour later and they are still up playing around and talking non-stop. Does every mom go through this as their children get older? I remember when they were little, I had a set schedule for all their naps and bedtime. My kids were always in bed by 7 or 7:30 p.m. without fuss. No struggles. Many of my friends used to say I was lucky back then and couldn't believe I had toddlers who went to bed so early every night without a cry. I really wish I could make whatever it was that worked then, work now.
My kids have no idea how good they have it. Growing up, I remember bed time was whenever my grandmother said it was. It didn't matter if you were 5 years old, 15 or 30. If she said it was time for bed, doors were closed, windows locked and lights off. Nobody up or out of bed. Real times those were. Maybe, I should try grandma's methods here sometime just to see how they like it.
And what does all of this have to do with cheese stuffed yuca balls? You ask.
Absolutely nothing. I just needed to let that out and say that if you are a mom who is going through bedtime struggles with your kids, know that you are not alone. It is exhausting, unnecessary and completely annoying. I get you.
Now, let's talk cheese stuffed yuca balls . . .
Yuca or Cassava is one of my favorite ingredients in the whole wide world. It is so versatile and absolutely delicious any way you cook it. The Cassava plant is cultivated in tropical regions and its root is rich in starch and contains a great amount of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C.
The Yuca can be prepared fried or boiled. It can be made into purees, as a casserole ingredient or added into stews such as Sancocho. It can be used as dough for empanadas or even made into a flour used for breads, cookies and cakes. It goes well with any type of meat, eggs and even cheese.
This is an ingredient I cook with very often. I have perfected the Yuca Fritters recipe, which I'll be sharing here soon. I make them all the time just as a second side dish for any meal. That's how much I love them. And, it is a highly requested side dish whenever I'm to bring a dish to any gathering.
But today, I am sharing this yuca balls stuffed with cheese. I prepared the Yuca similarly to the way I prepare it for the fritters. Then, I made it into small balls and placed yummy, gooey mozzarella cheese inside. Put them in a pan for frying until they turned golden brown and paired them with a tangy and delicious cilantro dressing for dipping. It really doesn't get any better than that.
- 1 pound yuca, grated
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon anise seed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 to 3 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut into cubes
- 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
- For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Grate the yuca using the smallest size of the grater.
- In a medium bowl, combine the yuca, butter, egg, anise seed, salt and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, mix together until well combined.
- Take 1 tablespoon of the yuca mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten it. Place 1 piece of cheese in the center and form a ball to cover the cheese.
- Using a frying pan, fry the yuca balls in vegetable oil over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess grease.
- For the cilantro dressing: Combine cilantro, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar and salt in a food processor or a blender until smooth. Serve on the side for dipping.
- Appetizers, Finger Foods
- South American
- 10-14 small balls
- Total Time
- 20 minutes