Getting to the Root of Things

Once again Richard Lyons’ Nursery is pleased to pass along to readers a very informative e-newsletter published by Brooks Tropicals. This one is about eddos, yucas and boniatos, the tropical equivalent of temperate zone spuds. We think you’ll be impressed with the interesting range of recipes recommended for incorporating these tasty and nutritious roots into our diets.

 

Eddos, yucas and boniatos, oh my!
Bouillabaisse made with malanga and ginger

Meet the “potatoes” of the tropical world.

Eddos, yucas, boniatos and malangas are a large source of carbohydrates in the tropics. Just as you have favorite potato and sweet potato dishes, diners in the tropics have their favorite soups, fries, stir-fries and baked dishes that center on these root vegetables.

There’s no need to add more carbohydrates to your diet, but consider diversifying to take advantage of the different nutrients these tropical roots can deliver.

Yuca, don’t mispronounce it
Yuca

Pronounced yoo-cuh, yuca has 3 personalities. Boiled, it’s soft and sticky. Fried, it’s sweet and crunchy. Like zucchini when it’s baked, yuca gives breads and cakes a mellow but sweet taste.

Yuca, when dried, is made into tapioca flour. So it’s a taste that should be on your “gotta try” list.

Yuca baked fries

If you’re new to yuca, it’s a must to check out our “Cooking with yuca” page.

Nutritional highlight: yuca is low in fat and a good source of Vitamin C and manganese.

Let go of my eddo!
Eddos

Eddos must be cooked before eating. If you are unfamiliar with eddos, read our “Cooking with eddos” page.

Eddo fritters

Like most tropical root vegetables, the eddo is popular in tropical climates around the world. It’s known by different names – taro is the most common.

Eddo and cauliflower in 
Aloo Gobi 

To be exact, the eddo is a variety of taro. But it can hold its own in any recipe calling for taro, from Hawaiian Poi to Indian dishes like Aloo Gobi.

Nutritional highlight: The eddo has 3x the fiber of a potato. It’s also rich in potassium and magnesium. With a low glycemic index, it can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

The boniato is nuts   
Boniato

Boniato can be microwaved or baked just like a potato. Before heaping on the butter – as you would a baked potato – taste it. You won’t want to smother its nutty taste.

Also known as the white sweet potato, boniato is popular  baked, roasted or fried in Latino cuisines.

Boniato, simply baked

Boniato is versatile, pair it with roasted chicken and beef or pork hot-off the grill. Serve boniato like you would a baked potato or mash it with garlic for a great side.

Nutritional highlight: With a dry, fluffy texture, boniato is a good source of vitamin C with about 90 calories per 1/2 cup.
Your grocery store may not have a full array of tropical roots. But ask your produce manager. Many stores start with a basket of eddos.

Find out why tropical roots play such an important role in Latino, Asian, Indian and African cuisines. Try a tropical “potato” recipe or substitute a tropical root for one of your own potato recipes.

Yours in the tropics,
Mary Ostlund
Brooks logo

From soup to nuts

Sopa de eddo
Yuca tortilla salad
Dilled boniato soup
Popular yuca dish,
simply boiled
Caribbean eddo chili
Yuca bread
Eddo peanut stirfry

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