What is yam and how do you cook it? Firstly, can I burst your bubbles and break it to you that yam is a Vegetable… Well, a tuberous root vegetable!! More, importantly, yam should not be confused with sweet potatoes. They are not the same thing.In today’s post, I would be showing you how to cook African yam perfectly at all times and other recipes you can use it with. It is quick and easy to make, delicious and healthy when eaten in moderation.
What is Yam?
According to Wikipedia, yam is a common name for plant species in the genus “Dioscorea” that form edible tubers. Yam is also often referred to as potatoes in some other part of the world. In Africa, water yam and puna as called yam. Sweet potatoes are often referred to as yam but they are not the same thing. In fact, when you do a quick search on google for yam recipes, you will be bombarded with sweet potato recipes.
Yam (Puna) is very popular in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Do you know Nigeria produces over 70% of the yam consumed in the world? You can have boiled yam on your table in under 30 minutes. Yam is a blank canvas, it requires few ingredients to make it and it is very easy to cook too.Some of the Nigerian Popular yam recipes include the almighty pounded yam also called Iyan. Egusi soup is a perfect accompaniment for pounded yam (Iyan) and it is often served at Nigerian parties too. Don’t add salt to yam if it is meant to be eaten as pounded yam.Boiled yam is another popular way to cook and eat yam. It is very quick to make too. You only need salt in boiled yam but some people also add sugar. I do this sometimes too. Boiled yam can be eaten with Egg Sauce, Corned beef stew, Egg stew, Ata dindin (fried stew), Garden egg stew or the good old tried and trusted omelette.
Other ways to enjoy it
Like I mentioned earlier, yam is a blank canvas and you can do just about anything with it. Yam can be eaten boiled, fried, roasted or pounded. It can even be used as part of cake ingredients and also used in dumplings. Well, the Caribbeans do.
Health benefit of yam.Yam are good source of starch and carbohydrates. It is high in fibre which helps keep hunger at bay. It is also a great source of pottasium, vitamin A and C. Yam acts as an anti oxidant. Overall, yam is a healthy food (vegetable) but it should be eaten in moderation.
What you would need to make boiled yam
A tuber of puna Yam (white)Saltsugar: optionalWater
How to peel yam
Cut the yam tuber into 1-inch sizes round slicesDepending on the circumference of the yam, you may want to cut into halves for easier cooking. It fits better in the pan when done this way.Using a sharp knife, slice into one side of the yam one at a time about 3 cm deep and peel around the circumferenceAdd sliced yam to a bowl and cover with cold water, this helps it from discolouration.
How to cook yam
Rinse yam clean thoroughly and place in a large saucepanAdd enough water to cover the yam and add saltPlace on medium heat and cook till yam is soft. Yam is cooked if a fork goes through it easily.Drain the yam (do this to avoid soggy yam) and serve immediately.
Other African yam recipes you would love
Fried Yam: The yam is cut into strips and deep-friedRoasted yam: You cut the yam into Big chunks and roast in the oven or open fire. This is commonly done on an open fire in Nigeria. It is also one of Nigerians popular street snacks, best eaten with special fried sauce. See my special sauce recipe hereYam Balls: This is mashed yam seasoned with spices and a binder. The mashed yam is formed into a ball, egg washed and covered in breadcrumbs before frying. If you have had rice balls, potato pockets then you would love yam ballsOven Baked Yam Chips: A healthy alternative recipe to fried yam.Ofe Nsala (White Soup): Ofe nsala is another popular soup in Nigeria, the soup is thickened with pounded yam and also eaten with pounded yam.Onunu: This is made by pounding boiled African yam and boiled plantain together with palm oil. Serve Onunu with Rivers states Native soup or fresh fish pepper soupYam porridge: A one-pot yam recipe. It is ridiculously easy to make and very delicious too. In Nigeria, yam porridge is also called Asaro (food) or yam pottage.Yam in soups: swap potatoes for yam in soups. Add yam cubes to this carrot leek soup to make it filling and hearty. Alternatively, yam can be added to catfish pepper soup or any other type of Nigerian pepper soup. Ditch the bread and eat some yam.
Tips for cooking and storing African yam
- Eat boiled yam the same day and warm. Do not keep it in the fridge as it drys out.
- Store peeled and washed raw yam slices in the freezer for up to 3 months. Best way of doing this is by flash freezing the sliced yam on a single layer before putting them away in a ziploc bag. that way, they don’t stick together and you can use them as desired.
- frozen yam can be cooked or fried from frozen.
- store unpeeled yam tuber in a cool place dry place for up to 7 days, keep longer if it is dry yam.
- Yam is seasonal and they can be a bit dry if it’s not in season. In a case like this, soak it in water overnight or some few hours before boiling
More cooking basics you should know
How to freeze and preserve okraQuick chicken stock recipe, this would be a great base for making yam porridge.How to fry plantainDID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE RATE IT AND LEAVE ME A COMMENT. USE #MYACTIVEKITCHEN OR TAG @MYACTIVEKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM SO I CAN SEE YOUR PHOTOS, I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOUR CREATIONS. THANK YOU!