Preparation / Directions:
Boniato (Cuban sweet potato): A rough, red-skinned spud that is often turnip-shaped. The white flesh has a mild flavor. Peeled and sliced boniato is often served in stews. Boniatos are super for deep-fried chips.
Eddoe (taro): This hairy, rough-skinned, mouse-sized type of taro is not a true tuber but a rhizome. Inside, the flesh is creamy-white and sometimes streaked with purple. Peeled and sliced eddoe can be cooked like a potato. The flavor is nutty and sweet.
Jicama (yam bean): You may have seen this one in stores. Jicama is relatively smooth, thin-skinned, light brown tuber that is turnip shaped. The flesh is juicy, crisp and mildly sweet. Peeled and sliced raw jicama is a perfect "chip" for dips. Julienne strips add crunch to salads. It can also be cooked in a stir-fry or soup. Smaller is better in the world of the yam bean. Larger ones tend to be dry and woody.
Malanga (yautia): Several varieties of this hairy tuber, popular in Cuba and Puerto Rico, show up in local stores from time to time. According to Jose Ramon Andres, chef of the downtow Latin restaurant Cafe Atlantico, the one to look for is cocoa malanga. It's a shaggy, lumpy, brown and white striped oval shaped tuber the size of a child's head. The flesh is white and starchy. Chef Andres serves malanga pureed with plenty of cream and butter and a touch of salt. Malangas also make great chips.
White Guinea Yam: This very large yam (also called name, pronounced NAW-may) has a bark-like dark brown skin. Some are covered with hairy fibers (one looked like a baby seal). The flesh is creamy-white and fibrous. We peeled, sliced and boiled it. It tasted like a starchy potato. White Guinea yams may also be cooked in stews, deep-fried or baked.
Yellow Guinea Yam:
A very large, often misshapen, dark brown, lumpy tuber with a thin rough skin. The lemon-chiffon-color flesh is suprisingly moist. We peeled, sliced and boiled it. It was nice. But this mellow ya can also be cooked in stews, deep-fried or baked.
Yuca (cassava): A cylindrical, medium-brown tuber with a tough, rough skin that is often covered with a wax to prevent spoilage. The white stringy flesh has a slightly sweet flavor. There are two kinds, bitter and sweet. Bitter is used to make tapioca. Soak sweet yuca in water, cook as you would a potato. It's delicious seasoned with sauteed garlic and a squeeze of fresh