What is yuca con chicharrón?
Yuca con chicharrón refers to one of the popular foods in El Salvador, as well as Honduras, which is made of yuca (cassava) served with raw cabbage with lemon, then topped with chicharrones, tomato hot sauce and mojo, made with a mixture of oil, garlic, onion, spices such as oregano and bitter orange or lime juice.
Yuca con chicharrón consists of boiled or fried pieces of yuca root mixed with raw cabbage and served with pork skin deep fried until it is crispy goodness.
Yuca con chicharrón is a side dish that is usually served with soups, tamales, or carneada (roasted meat).
Yuca frita is made from a tasty root vegetable known as cassava. Cassava is a starchy root and so is similar to a potato in terms of taste and texture, although the preparation method is more involved. It is first steamed and then deep fried to a golden brown. Cassava is a good source of calcium and vitamin C.
Yuca frita can be described as a slightly sweeter, firmer version of potato and while a very different experience from potato fries, the two are comparable.
It is served topped with pickled cabbage salad, homemade salsa and chicharron, or pork chips.
How to make yuca con chicharrón
The yuca with pork rinds is a typical dish of Honduras and El Salvador (similar to the vigorón of Nicaragua) in that its preparation is to cook the yuca with a little salt until it is soft. The chimol is prepared by chopping into small squares and mixing the tomatoes, onion, green chili hot pepper, salt, pepper and vinegar or lemon.
The cabbage is finely chopped and then washed with hot water or with chlorinated water. The yuca can be eaten warm or hot. Place pieces on a plate and add it in order: cabbage, chimol and finally chicharrón pieces. It can also be done with pork leg in tomato sauce instead of chicharrón or both.
Yuca with chicharrón is also one of the most popular Guatemalan dishes in the eastern part of the country. Especially in Chiquimula and Zacapa, where they consider it as one of their local specialty.
What is chicharron?
Chicharrón (plural: chicharrones) is a dish generally consisting of fried pork belly or fried pork rinds. Chicharrón may also be made from chicken, mutton or beef.
Chicharrón, as a dish with sauce, or chicharrones as finger-food or snack, are popular in Andalusia in Spain, Latin America and other places with Spanish influence including the Southwestern United States. It is part of the traditional cuisines of Bolivia, Portugal (where it is called torresmo), Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and others.
The singular form of the term or a variant of it is also used as a mass noun in Filipino and Tagalog, in which stand-alone plurals do not exist. Chicharron are usually made from various cuts of pork but sometimes with mutton, chicken or other meats. In some places they are made from pork ribs with skin attached and other meatier cuts rather than just rinds.
The pork rind variant is the skin of the pork after it has been seasoned and deep fried often to a crispy, puffy state. Other styles may be fatty or meaty, not fried as much, and sometimes attached to ribs or other bones.
In Mexico, they are eaten in a taco or gordita with salsa verde. Serving styles vary widely, including main course, side dish, filling for tortillas and other bread, the meat portion of stews, and as finger-food snacks.
In Bolivia, chicharrón is made of pork ribs seasoned with garlic, oregano and lemon. It is boiled then cooked in its own fat, adding beer or chicha to the pot for more flavor. Pork chicharrón is normally served only on Sundays and is eaten with llajwa, a tomato salsa, and mote, a type of corn (maize). There are other variations of chicharrón made with chicken and fish.
In Costa Rica, chicharrones are made by frying pork (usually ribs) in fat, and are associated with several dishes. Most Ticos usually eat them with rangpur or lime juice and fried yuca, accompanied by tortillas. It is also a main ingredient in a popular dish called chifrijo, which also combines red beans, rice, and pico de gallo. Another popular dish in Costa Rican cuisine that includes chicharrones is the vigorón.
In the Dominican Republic, chicharrón – especially the chicken-skin version, pica pollo – is usually eaten with tostones. It is prepared by washing and drying chicken and cutting it into small pieces, which are seasoned with a mix of lemon juice and salt. The batter is made from flour, pepper, paprika and salt in a plastic bag, in which the seasoned meat is then placed and shaken. Pieces are deep-fried, without removing excess flour or skin.
Pupusas are often filled with chopped chicharrón as a stuffing, the same way it is used in Mexico for tacos.
What is chimol?
Salvadorans usually serves the yuca con chicharron with a side of chimol. Chimol is a Salvadoran salsa. It requires minimal ingredients but has an impressive flavor profile. This fresh salsa is commonly used as a topping on foods such as grilled animal proteins (steak, fish, and chicken) or served as a tortilla chip dip. Chimol goes well with absolutely anything. Salvadorans love using it with anything bean related, eggs, and in burrito bowls or with tacos of any kind. It is a great way to add some simple, nutrient-rich pizzazz to any old plate of food.
Chimol is similar to Mexico’s pico de gallo, but made even simpler. Different countries throughout Central America will have their own version of chimol. They are all quite similar but will vary by a few ingredients and by name.
What is yuca?
Yuca or cassava, is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people. It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. In the US, the name “tapioca” most often refers to the starch made from the yuca root.
The starchy flesh of the yuca root is a light white or cream color with a grainy texture similar to potatoes. The meaty flesh is often described as having a mild, sweet, somewhat nutty taste. You can prepare it in the same way you would a baked potato, though it’s important to remove the skin first. Yuca has a high starch content which makes it rather dry, so including a sauce like chimol helps. A common way to prepare yuca is to make oven-baked yuca fries or boiled in water and then fried with onions and peppers.
When you add these three components together, the yuca, the chicharron and topped with the chimol, you get one of El Salvador’s most iconic dishes, yuca con chicharron. A dish definitely worth the wait!
- 1 lb cassava
- ½ lb chicharrón (pork rind), cut into pieces
- Vegetable oil
- 2 tomatoes , peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 onion , cut into small cubes
- 1 green hot pepper , cut into thin slices
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ head cabbage , grated
- 1 large carrot , grated
- 1 large onion , grated
- 1 red hot pepper , chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 limes
Wash the cassava well and peel it.
Cut it in half, then cut the two halves lengthwise to obtain 4 pieces for each cassava.
Remove the core fiber from each piece and cut each piece into sticks, similar to large French fries.
Fill a large pot with a large volume of salted water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add the cassava and cook for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
During the preparation of the yuca, prepare the pork rind
Pour a large volume of vegetable oil in a skillet and heat over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, fry the pork rind on both sides until all pieces are golden brown.
Remove the pork rind from the oil using a skimmer and place it in a large dish lined with paper towel to remove the excess oil and keep it crisp.
Preparation of the chimol sauce
Add the tomatoes, onion, hot pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and add lime juice.
Mix well, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Preparation of the cabbage salad
Mix the cabbage, carrots, onions and red hot pepper.
Immerse them in a large amount of boiling water for 3 minutes.
Drain and dry with a cloth. Let cool.
Finally add the oregano and juice of the limes. Season with salt and mix well.
Serve the cassava and the hot pork rind with chimol sauce and cabbage salad.