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Medallones y frituras de Yuca (Cassava medallions and fritters)

    ▪︎1 kg of peeled cassava
    ▪︎100 ml of tomato sauce
    ▪︎1 teaspoon of salt and pepper
    ▪︎1 onion
    ▪︎4 cachucha peppers
    ▪︎6 cloves of garlic
    ▪︎Cilantro, parsley, celery or other spices to taste
    ▪︎1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for frying or lard

In the 1990s, arguably the most difficult in recent Cuban history, my father had to invent a lot to meet the family's needs. I was studying far away at the time, and although it was free for Cubans, it always generated additional expenses.

I remember the rice and corn mills, the plastic melter, the pig breeding, the carpentry, the shoe and swimsuit industry, because my mother, a great seamstress, also worked much as the years allowed him. The business that lasted the longest was the cafeteria, where pizza, candy, soft drinks and sandwiches were sold... but it all started with a simple fry stand.
I remember that on the weekends I spent at home with the family, I helped my father in this first small business, preparing cassava for his frying stand.

Everything was done at dawn to ensure the freshness of the food. My father always got up first, around 2 a.m., to advance the cooking of the cassava which then had to be cooled. I only came to help him around 3 a.m., for the final preparation.

The idea was that everything would be ready around 4 to 5 a.m. at the latest, a typical time for farmers going to work and who stopped religiously to taste my father's preparation with a homemade soda or juice and coffee. Then other workers passed by and later travelers and even schoolchildren regularly stopped to eat something before arriving at school.

By 9 or 10 a.m. everything had been sold. My father would then close the frying stall, then go out to get the cassava and other products for the next day. It was only after lunch that he usually took a deep restorative nap.

The idea of cassava fried on a griddle, like a hamburger, came from the abundance of the tuber and the lack of oil in those hard old times.
My father fried a piece of bacon, which he ate afterwards, to obtain the fat necessary to grill the cassava medallions, which in turn were flavored with it.

Then, a long time later, we could make cassava fritters, in plenty of oil.
So today we are going to make these cassava medallions and fritters with a lot of nostalgia and gratitude.

You must first cook the cassava but not too tender, then grind the pieces.

We prepare a Creole sauce separately. We will fry the garlic, chili pepper, onion, coriander and any other spices to taste, in a little oil and a light tomato sauce, sprinkled with salt and pepper.
When everything is ready, mix the cassava and the sauce well until you obtain a well-seasoned and very consistent cassava paste.

With our hands dipped in water, we will make balls of cassava, then give them a shape similar to medallions, to then grill on the hotplate with a little oil, until it is nicely golden on both sides. sides.

It is recommended to eat the barely finished cassava medallions, very hot, with a spicy sauce.
If instead of making these medallions we take two spoons and make small three-sided balls, like dumplings, then we can fry them in abundant and very hot oil to make cassava fritters.

Another treat that I recommend to enjoy with a sauce of honey, ginger, chopped pineapple and mustard.
See you soon at the Cuban table.

Medallones y frituras de Yuca (Cassava medallions and fritters)
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