How to Cook Oca

At first glance, you might think oca are little potatoes, but they are a separate type of tuber. However, if you manage to find some, you can cook them like potatoes, even though they are a lot smaller. To bring out the nutty flavor of oca, roast them with a little oil. For a hearty side dish, boil them and mash them or make a big stir fry with other root vegetables.

[Edit]Ingredients

[Edit]Roasted

  • of oca
  • of fat like duck fat or butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional seasonings like fresh herbs, honey, mustard, or chili flakes

Makes 2 servings

[Edit]Mashed

  • of oca
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Makes 4 servings

[Edit]Stir-Fried

  • of sunflower oil
  • of oca, thinly sliced
  • piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 birds-eye chilies, seeds removed and finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) of sesame seeds
  • Drizzle of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon (2 g) of freshly chopped cilantro

Makes 2 servings

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Roasted

  1. Preheat the oven to and rinse of oca. Hold the oca under cold running water and gently rub them to get rid of dirt or debris.[1]
    Cook Oca Step 1.jpg
    • It’s really important to do this since you won’t be peeling the oca. Oca skin is really thin so it won’t become tough or affect the flavor as the oca roasts.
  2. Cut larger oca so they’re the same size as smaller ones. Oca can grow between , so look at yours and cut the biggest oca so they’re the same size as the smallest ones. This way they’ll all roast evenly.[2]
    Cook Oca Step 2.jpg
    • If you have nothing but small oca, you might not need to cut any!
  3. Put the oca into a baking dish and toss them with of melted fat. Choose a dish or sheet that’s big enough to arrange the oca so they’re in a single layer and aren’t crowded. This way they won’t steam as they roast. Then, drizzle of melted fat or butter over the oca and toss them until they’re coated.[3]
    Cook Oca Step 3.jpg
    • Look for a rimmed baking sheet so the oca don’t slide off as you put the sheet in the oven.
  4. Mix the oca with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices or herbs. To let the flavor of the oca really shine, keep things simple and sprinkle just salt and pepper over them. Feeling more adventurous? It’s easy to customize the flavor of your roasted oca. Try seasoning them with:[4]
    Cook Oca Step 4.jpg
    • A drizzle of honey and balsamic vinegar
    • A pinch of chili flakes
    • Pesto or freshly chopped herbs like parsley and thyme
  5. Roast the oca for 30 to 40 minutes or until they’re tender in the center. Pop your dish or sheet into the oven and bake the oca until they’re browned on the outside. To test if they’re done, carefully poke a knife into the center of one to see if it comes out easily.[5]
    Cook Oca Step 5.jpg
    • Got tiny oca? Start checking your oca after 15 minutes since small oca cook a lot faster than bigger ones.
    • If you want to refrigerate your leftover oca, toss them into an airtight container and chill them for up to 3 days.

[Edit]Mashed

  1. Rinse of oca and peel them. Use cold running water and rub the oca with your fingers to loosen dirt and debris. If you’re using long oca, you can peel them with a vegetable peeler. Got tiny oca? You might want to skip the peeling step since the oca could be too tricky to handle.[6]
    Cook Oca Step 6.jpg
    • The oca peels will become tender as you boil them, but your mashed oca will have more of a rustic, chunky texture than if you peeled them.
  2. Cut the oca into pieces that are the same size. If you’ve got short oca that are only about long, you don’t need to cut them. Look for longer oca and cut them down so they’re the same length as your smallest one. This helps them cook at the same rate.[7]
    Cook Oca Step 7.jpg
  3. Put the oca into a saucepan and pour enough cold water to cover them. Get out a medium-sized saucepan and put your rinsed oca into it. Then, add enough cold water to the pot to completely cover the oca by about .[8]
    Cook Oca Step 8.jpg
    • Want to flavor the oca while they’re boiling? Add a few hefty pinches of salt to the water so the veggies absorb it while they cook.
  4. Simmer the oca for 12 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Turn your burner to high so the water comes to a boil faster. Once you see large bubbles, reduce the heat to medium and let the oca simmer gently until they’re completely tender.[9]
    Cook Oca Step 9.jpg
    • Keep the lid off of the pot while the oca are simmering so you can adjust the temperature if the water starts to boil vigorously.
    • Not sure if the oca are done? Just stick a knife or skewer into the center of one to see if it comes out easily. If not, simmer them for a few more minutes and check again!
  5. Set a colander in the sink and drain the oca. If you don’t have a colander, that’s fine—place a fine-mesh strainer in your sink. Then, wear oven mitts to pick up the saucepan and slowly pour the oca into the colander or strainer.[10]
    Cook Oca Step 10.jpg
  6. Put the oca into a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher. Transfer the drained oca to a serving bowl and use a vegetable masher or hand mixer to purée the oca until it’s smooth.[11]
    Cook Oca Step 11.jpg
    • Want even silkier mashed oca? Put the drained oca into a potato ricer. Hold it over your bowl and press down on the handle for force the oca through the tiny holes in the ricer.
  7. Season the mashed oca with salt, pepper, and cilantro. Oca doesn’t need much to make it delicious, but a sprinkle of salt and pepper will enhance its natural flavor. For a bright garnish, drop a few sprigs of fresh cilantro on top just before you serve the mashed oca.[12]
    Cook Oca Step 12.jpg
    • To get creamy, rich mashed oca, stir in a drizzle of cream or olive oil. You could also add a pat of butter to the dish before you serve it.
    • Feel free to experiment! For a fresh, herbal flavor, add a sprig of freshly chopped herbs like parsley, thyme, or chives.
    • Refrigerate your leftover mashed oca in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

[Edit]Stir-Fried

  1. Heat of sunflower oil in a wok over medium-high heat. You’ll probably be surprised at how quickly your stir fry comes together! Set a wok on the stove and pour in of sunflower oil. Then, turn the burner to medium-high and heat the oil until it shimmers.[13]
    Cook Oca Step 13.jpg
    • Don’t have sunflower oil? You can use the same amount of sesame oil instead.
  2. Add of sliced oca and cook them for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Slicing the oca thinly helps it cook quickly so keep an eye on your wok. Stir the oca every few minutes as the oca cooks.[14]
    Cook Oca Step 14.jpg
  3. Stir in ginger, chilies, and sesame, and cook the mixture for 2 minutes. Add a thinly sliced piece of fresh ginger to your wok along with 2 sliced birds-eye chilies and 1 teaspoon (3 g) of sesame seeds. Stir the oca occasionally and cook it until you can really smell the garlic.[15]
    Cook Oca Step 15.jpg
    • This doesn’t take long and garlic burns easily so turn off the burner as soon as it’s fragrant.
    • Feel free to swap out the birds-eye chilies with any other red pepper. You can also add sliced green onions for even more flavor.
  4. Turn off the burner and season your stir-fry with sesame oil and fresh cilantro. To complete your oca stir-fry, drizzle a little sesame oil on top and scatter 1 tablespoon (2 g) of freshly chopped cilantro just before you serve the stir-fry.[16]
    Cook Oca Step 16.jpg
    • Customize your stir-fry and add protein like diced chicken or ham. You can also add your favorite vegetables, like bok choy leaves or sliced sweet peppers.
    • Put leftovers into an airtight container and refrigerate the stir-fry for up to 5 days.

[Edit]Tips

  • Skip peeling ocas and save a few minutes. Their flesh is really thin so the skin becomes tender as it cooks.[17]
  • Having trouble finding ocas? They might be called something different in your area. Ocas are called yams in New Zealand and South America, but they’re not the same as North American yams, which are sweet potatoes.[18]

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Roasted

  • Large bowl
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Roasting dish
  • Oven mitts

[Edit]Mashed

  • Medium-sized saucepan
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Colander or fine-mesh strainer
  • Potato masher or ricer
  • Serving bowl

[Edit]Stir-Fried

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Wok
  • Spoon
  • Serving dish

[Edit]References

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