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Getting a Latina Girlfriend to Cook Real Food & a Fried Yuca Recipe

One of my first friends in Atlanta quickly became my closest confidant and go to chica. The bond was instantly made when I found out her background. She’s Brazilian, born in  New Jersey and raised in Miami. Not just in Miami, but Hialeah, the “Cuban of Cuban” nooks of the tropical city. Growing up and being raised around mostly Cubans, M has become an honorary Cuban and really exemplies all of those wonderful traits of my culture.

She speaks like we do, gestures like we do, whips up espumita pa’l cafecito like we do and eats all the food that makes up our cuisine. If I had to guess, tostones are her favorite.

While she’s Latina in all sense of the word, she’s also acclimated very well into mainstream America and embracing all things Americana. In M’s world that means not cooking very often as she’s a established herself as a successful career woman and now a wife and mother to a young toddler. This leaves even less time for her to cook every day, unlike most Latinas I know (at least in my mom’s world) have been taught to do. I do get we’re living in different times and in instant gratification psyche, but it’s second nature for me to get up and think about what will be on the dinner table that night.

I’ve tried to convince my dear chica that cooking at home is so gratifying and far more economical to eating out as much as she and hubby love to do. She once told me she’d rather spend $200 on a fine dinner than on a bad ass pair of shoes! My God I about passed out. Perhaps because I cook for a living and can prepare just about anything for myself and those around me, I thought the notion was blasphemous. I do love a great ambiance with full service, but a fabulous pair of shoes will last me a lifetime!

Many a times I’ve eaten M’s house where the fare was pre-cooked plantains, store-bought potato salad, pre-mixed margaritas and frozen garlic bread. I’ll take it since it’s usually good and edible enough for me go back for seconds. But as my dear friend, I have a duty to guide her in the right direction and encourage her to dig deep into the very roots and culture that’ve defined her today. I’ve implored her to just take a little bit of time out of her schedule (even sneak in some time at work) and do some blog and cooking site browsing. The amount of information out there to gather and stash up options to offer up during her impromptu Sunday trysts could make her one well-rounded chica. I mean how much easier can it get when you  have a close girlfriend to support a delicious lifestyle. Just ask!

In my earnest effort to get M to cook more home-cooked food be at Latin or not, we’ve had conversations on how easily she can incorporate bold flavors and simple ingrendients to make satisfying food. The goal has been to break her away from defaulting to packaged foods. And, finally, after years of suggesting this, that and the other (and to her credit she’s text me plenty of times asking for a quick recipe), M has started to branch out and play around with some of our own staples and has blown my mind even more when she’s stepped out on faith and experimented with new ingredients and flavors.

Last weekend, during Memorial Day, my girl went all out and laid forth a fabulous spread with some fave Latin party food and some not so Latin fun-sized appetizers to fill us up. She earned a foodie graduation and has broken out of the mindset that fresh home-cooking is undoable and takes too much time. She found her formula: cook on Sundays!

No matter the day, it was great to enjoy perfectly seasoned fried yuca, one of my “I’ll fight you over the last piece” kinda food and the most adorable and party perfect pesto-stuffed cherry tomatoes. I was over the top tickled when she admitted the pesto recipe came from a Publix circular! You gotta start somewhere, right! From the taste, I could tell she put all of her heart and passion into it. And at the end of the day, that’s what cooking is about! Putting all your love juice into it!

It’ll always make food better.

And you already know I ate about 15 poppers back to back! If you’ve not seen them before, they’re a party lineup must! I’ll share recipe when I make the for myself.

When this sweet bestie M invites me over for dinner, it’s sublime to see her smartness pull out the cooking skill she’s got hidden up in that Brazilian body.

And I do my job by eating it all up!

From her kitchen to your eyes, feast on this delicious and down home Latin soul food. The yuca fritters are delightfully simple to make and will satisfy every single guest! And you can say you made them from scratch.

(And, if you’re wondering, I do have an over-the-top, to kill for super duper garlicky dipping sauce to make you drool even more! I’ll share on the next yuca talk!)

*This post is part of my wonderful involvement in the Latina Smart campaign which explores and intimately touches on preserving Latin culture!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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  • 4 -16 oz frozen yuca bags
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/2 gallon canola oil for deep frying
  • 2 tbsp. table salt
  • 1.5 tbsp. crushed red pepper (optional but so good!)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


In large pot, boil frozen yuca in 1 gallon salted water. Remove from water and strain. Using a deep fryers, heat oil to 350 degrees. Using tongs, place yuca chunks into fryer and cook for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer cooked yuca onto paper towel-covered plated. Sprinkle with sea salt and crushed back pepper.

Serves 8-12

76 thoughts on “Getting a Latina Girlfriend to Cook Real Food & a Fried Yuca Recipe

  1. NOT the best thing to read before going to bed, now I am craving yuca BADLY! A little dipping sauce of honey, sriracha and mayo would make these even better! dios mio!

  2. Yum, yum. Loved your post. Please, tell my girl M that she has to invite me over for some home-cooked meal when I’m down in Hotlanta. Those yuca frita look to die for!

  3. I’m with David…tell M that I’m looking forward to her home cooking next time I am in Atlanta….:) Love the post….

  4. I love fired yuca which is called mandioca frita in Brasil…I still have a bad of frozen yuca and will add some spice as you have in your recipe…looks delicious.
    Hope you are having a great week Bren 🙂

  5. your friend sounds like me but my husband doesn’t like all that frozen and leftover food so I cook a lot more than I normally would. Since he’s Mexican, and we’re newlyweds, all of your lovely cuisine is new to me. I’m new to your site and already loving what I’m seeing. Will be back for more ideas. I love the cherry tomatoes, too. If I can’t find the recipe online through Publix, I’ll ask you for it. Thanks savvy Bren!

  6. Nelly: oh my gosh, i’d never to that to myself! drooling on stuff like this before bed is never a good idea if you want to sleep well! 1st thing in the morning is a different story! 😉

    Rosa: Sure is. It’s so versatile i love it.

    David: yeah I’ve told your girl all about your desires for her to cook for you. date set.

    Merari: For sure!

    Juliana: Frozen yuca is not my preference but it sure is easy to handle– far easier than the fresh root. Enjoy if you make it.

    5 Star Foodie: The kick makes all the difference.

    Michele: I say the same thing about my dad. He doesn’t eat leftover, processed or anything not fresh. Thanks for visiting and glad you found it! Be inspired and cook up!

    Melanie: Thanks, love!

  7. I just think it is great how you got your dear friend to explore her culinary skills more!!!! fabulous influence!!

  8. YUCA FRIES!!! My whole family loves them. I don’t own a deep fryer though…probably best for us though. Don’t wanna be tempted too much.

  9. Fun post. I enjoyed reading it. I would like to thank the person who thought about freezing, marketing and selling yuca to the supermarkets. I would never attempt to peel those suckers!

  10. Ok…you needed to be at my house when I attempted Yuka fries. Mine did not come out like yours. I think because I thought I was doing something wrong my frying them so long. So, I took the fries out…and had soggy ickiness. These look delicious! Next time I want to make them, I am calling you!

  11. You and M always make the most delish things! You know I love Yuca and spicy always makes things better. I’m gonna have to try these.

    Muchas gracias chica.


  12. I love Yuca. Sometimes I marinate the Yuca for a few hours with oregano, salt, black pepper and vinegar and fry it. Omg! By the way I just bought a bag of frozen maduros, you would never know they are frozen, so yummy. Lmao.

  13. Merari: thanks! that girl there needs to cook more of her own food especially since she likes to eat as much as I do! She’s good at it when she applies herself!

    Nicki: oh my gosh! I own a deep fryer but it’s stored away so that I don’t use it for everything. can you imagine! Dios mio.

    Mami: siempre, verdad!?

    Joan Nova: Gfriend, you and me both! Oh my gosh I can’t even remember the last time I peeled a fresh yuca. Too much trouble especially when the frozen ones are taste just the same and take no time to cook. I love that you love it!

    Chris: hahahhaha. i had no idea you tried to make them. girl call me next time. for real. it’s the easiest thing to make. and so many different ways. as long as you don’t burn your face like i did a long time ago! long story for letter.

  14. DuoDishes: no! what’s that?! looking it up. Have you had yuca?

    Eliana: well ur Latina, so yea, it’s so much about the yuca! que rico, no!

    George: The spicy version is great. A bit different than the every day wedges/fries you can buy (especially at Peruvian restaurants), but the heat is so nice.

    Clearly Bacchus: I think you had these when she and I hosted the Christmas party at her house a few years ago, no?

    Simone: you and ur frozen maduros! I hate when restaurants use those. I know it’s cheaper and easier, but it’s just not the same! 😉

  15. I know who M is *big smile* I’ll definitely have to swing by her house and try some myself. Maybe I can try this on the 4th!

  16. The last time I had yuca (or cassava as its called in Jamaica) was when you cooked some for some of us a few months ago. Normally when I’ve had it, the yuca had very little flavor but you made a very tasty dish of it that time. Now I have a new appreciation for it. 🙂

  17. Well the only times I have had yuca have been when you so beautifully prepared it for me and the other 2 pieces. However seems as if it is time for me to learn how to prepare it as well because as Rohan mentioned you prepared a quite tasty dish that I think I went back for 3rds.

  18. Being Panamanian I know a lil something about yuca … and boy you out did yourself on this one!
    I will probably never get to cook this myself, but I will remember this for when someone says, “hey I have some yuca, what cooks we do with it !?”
    Then ill POP over to this blog and be the hero!
    Once again, you never cease to amaze me 🙂

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  20. I haven¦t checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I¦ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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