What is Yam?
African Yam is a root food native to West Africa, I mean it is harvested from below the earth surface (like potatoes). It has a rough dark brown skin and is white or yellow on the inside. Yam grows in tubers and is cylindrical in shape it comes in various sizes from 1 foot up to 4 feet long. There are different types of yam like Water yam and Coco yam. It is a staple food all over Africa.
Yam is very rich in Carbohydrates, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Manganese and Potassium. 100 grams of yam gives 118 calories
Healthy benefits of yam
- Very good source of energy
- Builds immunity
- Quick wound healing
- Anti-ageing effect, it prevents wrinkles and aids smooth skin
- Provides fibre
- Antioxidant compound in yams aids memory capacity and heals Alzheimer’s desease
- Potassium in yam aids digestion
- Vitamin C and beta-carotene in yam destroy cancer free-radicals
- Yam protects the skin form the harshness of sun rays
- Yam prevents hair breakage, it also prevents the hair from greying prematurely
African Yam recipes
Yam cannot be eaten raw, it has to be cooked. Here some ways yam is cooked in Africa
Boiled yam – When cooking yam, I would advise not to peel it. Wash the sand off the skin and chop it into desired sizes. For best results cook yam suspended on boiling water. Steamed. Boiled yam is served with pepper sauce, vegetable soup, 0melett or palmoil.
In Ghana boiled yam is mashed with palmoil
Yam porridge – cut yam into 1 inch cubes. Boil these cubes in watery tomato sauce, spices and dried fish. Cook on low heat till yam is soft.
Fried Yam – Cut yam into strips or thin slices and deep fry. (Fried food is never advised).
Pounded Yam – First boil yam with the skin on. When cooked, the peel will fall off. Put cooked yam in a mortar and pound till smooth. Better still cut yam into thin slices, when cooked blend in a food
processor till smooth. Serve with vegetable, egusi or okra soups
Yam flour Pudding – Uncooked yam pieces are laid in the sun to dry. They go hard and brown when dry. These dry pieces are powdered at a mill into yam flour. Yam flour is mixed with boiling water and moulded with a wooden spoon into a thick dough. Best served with a soup called Ewedu.
Grated fried Yam – Peeled water yam is grated into a smooth paste. Add salt, pepper and chopped onions. Deep fry in palm oil or Sunflower oil.
Grated Yam porridge – Grate peeled water yam into a smooth paste. In a pot, put in some water, dry fish, salt, pepper and palmoil. Bring to boil. Add grated yam as rounded balls into the boiling mix. Cook on very low heat till yam is firm. Mix and serve.
What is bad about it?
- If raw yam fluid stays on the skin it feels itchy. Wash the skin immediately with soap and water. Apply palmoil.
- Yam should be consumed moderately as it is very high in calories