Posts Tagged ‘fries’

My Cassava (aka Yuca) Chips Craze

Earlier this year, while shopping at my local Trader Joe’s, I was approached by one of the employee’s who saw a bag of these Cassava Chips in my shopping cart. She asked if I was aware that they would no longer be carrying them. SAY WHAT? I rushed back to the Chip Aisle and grabbed 3 more bags. The following week I noticed the shelf restocked. I asked if perhaps there had been a mistake. Sadly, the chips were definitely discontinued. They had simply put out the last stash from the back. That was it. No more Cassava Chips at my Trader Joe’s. So, I did what seemed the natural thing to do. I bought the last 12 bags! NO shame, that’s how much I love them. The employees were not surprised at all. I’m in there every week and they were used to me buying a bag just about every time I shopped. My family loves the healthier snack alternative (see nutrients and simple list of recognizable ingredients below). They are gluten-free, low fat and calorie, lightly salted and very satisfying. In two months we went through all the bags. I’ve learned that they are still sold in certain Trader Joe’s throughout the country. So, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones, you need to try them asap!

If you are unfamiliar with it, Cassava is a root found in tropical lands, particularly South America. Known as Yuca (often confused with Yucca, spelled almost the same but entirely a different plant species) in many Latin cultures, it is high in calcium and vitamin C and can be cooked in so many different ways. It has both a sweet and bitter taste, at the same time. Being of South American heritage, it was a very common dish in my home while growing up. I’ve enjoyed yuca patties, stews with yuca in place of potato, boiled yuca, yuca fries, etc., etc. Today I continue in the tradition of serving yuca with my own family’s meals. One of my daughter’s favorite side dishes (and mine) is Yuca Frita (fried cassava).  I am fortunate enough to find frozen cassava (by Goya) at my local Super Giant grocery store. I boil the yuca chunks, cut them into thinner slices, then fry them in some Grape Seed or Olive Oil, sprinkle with some sea salt, and serve with sliced cheese, specifically Queso Blanco Fresco. Deliciousness.

Fortunately, while disappointed not to find the Cassava Chips at my Trader Joe’s anymore, I have been comforted in finding very similar products since then. While in California, I discovered Crisp Root Cassava Chips at a local Whole Foods Market. Same convenience and delicious cassava taste, but these chips have a couple of advantages. First of all, they are thick and ridged, making you feel like you’re indulging in some fantastic potato chips, only with less fat and more fiber! Crisp Root Chips also come in different flavors. Our favorites are the Original and the Sea Salt. You can also find BBQ flavored and Thai Ginger Chips. Lastly, and best of all, you can order these great chips online!!! Back here in PA, my Whole Foods does not carry them, so this is a huge plus for me. Just click the image to the right to visit their website for more info and/or place an order.

What I was able to find at my local Whole Foods are Inka Chips, by Inka Crops from Peru.  This brand offers different snack products and are committed to providing healthier more eco-conscious alternatives.  The Mixed Variety bag pictured below contains all my favorites: Plantain, Sweet Potato and Yuca Chips. Individual bags of each are also available. Inka Crops’ products can also be ordered online. Visit their website for more info and/or to order.

If you have not tried Cassava yet (be it as chips or at the growing number of trendy restaurants offering it as a side dish) I hope I’ve inspired you to give it a chance.