Hi friends! Today I’m super excited to share with you one of my favorite desserts from El Salvador: nuegados de Yuca. These are cheesy cassava fritters that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, drizzled with a sweet and spicy panela syrup. They are so addictive and satisfying, you won’t be able to stop at one!
Nuegados de Yuca are a traditional treat that is usually made during Easter, but they can also be enjoyed any time of the year. They are perfect for snacking, sharing, or indulging. And they are surprisingly easy to make at home with just a few ingredients.
If you’ve never tried cassava before, you’re in for a treat. Cassava is a starchy root vegetable that is widely used in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. It has a mild flavor and a chewy texture that works well for making doughs and batters. You can find it fresh or frozen at most grocery stores or ethnic markets.
To make these fritters, you’ll need to grate the cassava (or use a food processor), squeeze out the excess liquid, and mix it with eggs, cheese, and baking powder. Then you’ll shape the dough into balls and fry them until golden and crispy. The frying part is fun and satisfying – just be careful not to burn yourself with the hot oil!
The best part of these fritters is the panela syrup that goes on top. Panela is unrefined cane sugar that has a rich caramel flavor and a dark brown color. You can find it in solid blocks or granulated form at most Latin American stores or online. To make the syrup, you’ll need to boil panela with water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and vanilla until thickened.
The combination of cheesy fritters and sweet syrup is heavenly. The contrast of textures and flavors is amazing – crunchy, soft, salty, sweet, spicy… I’m drooling just thinking about it! These nuegados de yuca are best served warm or at room temperature – but honestly they taste good even cold from the fridge.
I hope you give these nuegados de Yuca a try soon – I promise you won’t regret it! They are so delicious and comforting – perfect for celebrating Easter or any occasion with your loved ones. Let me know how they turn out for you in the comments below!
Ingredients for the nuegados:
- 2 cups of grated cassava (raw)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup of hard cheese, grated (or use flour as an alternative)
- Oil or lard for frying
Ingredients for the panela honey:
- 1 cup of panela sugar pieces
- 1 cup of water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 whole cloves
- In a large bowl, combine the grated cassava, eggs, baking powder, salt, and grated cheese (or flour) until you achieve a smooth dough consistency.
- Heat oil or lard in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Using wet hands, shape the dough into balls and slightly flatten them.
- Fry the nuegados in small batches until they turn golden on both sides, approximately three minutes per side. Once done, drain them on paper towels.
Instructions for the panela honey:
- Place the panela in a large saucepan. Add water and spices (cinnamon sticks and whole cloves).
- Cook the mixture over medium heat until the panela completely dissolves. Stir occasionally.
- Boil the mixture over low heat, stirring frequently for about ten to fifteen minutes, until the honey thickens enough to leave a light coating on a spoon. Set aside.
- Arrange the nuegados on a platter and drizzle them with the prepared panela honey. Enjoy!
- Make sure to remove as much liquid as possible from the grated cassava before mixing it with the other ingredients. This will improve the dough’s cohesion and prevent it from falling apart during frying.
- Opt for a cheese that melts well and has a mild flavor, such as mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or queso fresco. Alternatively, you can use hard cheeses like cotija or parmesan for a saltier and tangier taste.
- If you desire a more elastic and easier-to-shape dough, you can add gelatin powder. Alternatively, cornstarch or regular flour can serve as binders if gelatin is unavailable.
- Fry the nuegados in batches over medium-high heat until they become golden and crispy on both sides. Avoid overcrowding the pan, as it may cause them to turn soggy. Use paper towels to drain excess oil.
- For the panela honey, use a heavy-bottomed pot and occasionally stir until the panela fully dissolves. Enhance the flavor by adding some orange zest, ginger, or anise. If panela isn’t available, you can substitute it with brown sugar or molasses.
- While regular flour can replace cassava, bear in mind that it contains gluten, which might impact the texture and taste of the nuegados. Adjust the liquid and cheese quantities to achieve the desired dough consistency.
- Start with a small amount of flour and gradually add more until you obtain a smooth and pliable dough that isn’t overly sticky or dry.