Yam has been a Nigerian food as far back as the history of food or Nigeria itself. It has been a source of delicious meals generation after generation, a tool of employment for its farmers and suppliers and, an empowerment strategy for both genders across the food industry. It is a whole masterpiece from which multiple varieties of food can be sourced out.
Yams are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in many temperate and tropical regions, especially in Africa, South America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania.
Yams are edible tubers and they are grown mostly in Niger, Benue, Edo, Oyo, Taraba, Abia, Sokoto states of Nigeria. You can find out more about other tuber crops like sweet potato here.
In Nigeria, Here Are All The Dishes You Could Make With Yam.
1. White Yam
This is the second easiest yam recipe for me. All one has to do is peel the yam, cut it into pieces, wash then boil until it is soft. Why did I say it’s easy? Because during the cooking, you don’t have to stand in front of the cooker dreading it burn, you just have to put enough water. Then go about your other activities while checking on the pot from time to time.
White Yam is mostly served for lunch and it is enjoyed with stew, either cabbage, onion or egg sauce, and sometimes just oil and pepper. It mostly depends on the mood and pocket of the eater really.
2. Fried Yam
In most cases, this yam goes directly from cutting(slicing) and washing to being pushed into hot oil after sprinkling a little salt or Maggi seasoning. Only a few people boil it before frying. Boiling usually makes it softer even after fried.
Fried Yam is enjoyed as breakfast or dinner. It is preferably taken with pap, “kunu” or custard and in some cases, garnished with a little egg or onion sauce by the side. It is the easiest yam recipe for some people.
Also, fried yam has been a source of livelihood for a lot of people. It is fried and sold to people side by side with Akara or bean cakes.
I remember my secondary school days, we used to have women whose canteen consisted of this yam and akara. Back then, you could eat something tangible during break periods for as low as 50naira.
3. Golden Yam
Golden yam, laced yam, yam, and eggs are all names used to identify the recipe of yam dipped into eggs. It is a famous yam recipe within Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large for so many different reasons:
- First, it is a devotedly patronized recipe amongst the Nigerian Muslim communities during Ramadan for iftars.
- Secondly, it is a variety that can be made out of leftovers. Throughout my life, each afternoon we make white yam and it stays overnight, we preserve it then wake up first thing in the morning to wash, slice, and fry with eggs for breakfast.
- Thirdly, it is an additional source of livelihood for a lot of people especially men. In my life, I know some men who fry yam and egg in the evenings for a living, and they are quite successful too. In fact, one I know bought land with the business. Not to mention lots of restaurants who have fried yam on their menu.
Yam and Egg are prepared by peeling off the skin of the yam, instead of cutting into pieces, the yam is sliced into pieces then washed and boiled. Note that the boiling doesn’t take time as in the case of the white yam. After the boiling, it is sieved to drain out the water and cool it a little down.
Meanwhile, you break eggs and beat inside a bowl. Put on a frying pan with oil on the fire. When it’s hot enough, you pick up a slice of the yam, dip it inside the egg before throwing it into the oil for frying. The frying shouldn’t take long lest the egg around the yam crisps into something not desirable. On an ordinary day, this yam recipe is a breakfast goal for most people.
4. Yam Porridge
Instead of just boiling in water, here it is chopped into medium size cubes and the water is no crystal clear water. It is a combination of onion, tomatoes, pepper, meat, palm oil, and Maggi. In some cases, beans and spinach are added to the mix. It is one of the afternoon dishes you could make with yam.
And as the name porridge implies, this yam recipe comes out looking all yummy.
5. Roasted Yam
This is the easiest dish you could make with yam. As roasting implies, locally, the whole tuber is placed atop a grill which has an open fire underneath. When it’s done, the yam is then sliced then peeled to be eaten with oil and pepper. It is a lunch menu.
Using today’s technology, however, it is sliced circularly before soaked in saltwater for some time. Then, it is placed in an oven and grill at low heat. It can be enjoyed with any sauce. This type of roasted yam recipe belongs to both the breakfast and lunch menu.
6. Pounded Yam
Just like the name has a ring of a pound to it, the processing of this meal includes pounding. Yam is boiled to a serious level of softness followed by a vigorous pounding session in the traditional pestle and mortar with as much as little water as possible. When it has been beaten into the desired finesse, it is molded into a medium ball-like shape and served with traditional soups like egusi, okra, beans soup, etc.
This process requires raw power which is why women in this generation stay away from this yam recipe as much as possible. Though a machine has been invented for the pounding process, it is not yet popular in households. It should be noted that not every yam is a fine agent of this swallow.
The specific type for a tasty swallow is the ones gotten from Niger state because of their powder-like capacity not to mention the starchiness that is responsible for sticking. It should be noted that this is one of the best dishes made out of yam for men. It is probably their best swallow.
7. Yam Balls
This is a yam recipe not funny to achieve. Why? Because it has a lot of processes to go through before it perfection. First, the yam is boiled. Then pounded inside a mixture of sauce (ground tomatoes, onion, and pepper with Maggi fried in very little oil) whilst it is still hot.
After the smoothening, it is molded into a small ball-like-size. This ball-like-sized prepared yam is fried in oil after dipped in a bowl of egg. See! This is why I labeled it ‘the most difficult recipe you could make with yam’. Yam balls are an afternoon package sometimes used as snacks during events such as weddings.
8. Black Amala
Black amala just like pounded yam is a swallow; a category taken with Nigerian soups. Soups such as egusi, okra, ewedu, etc. This type of amala is made from the stylishly scraped sandy or brown part occurs yam is stylishly scraped before the main peeling occurs.
The peels are ground and washed and dried before grinding into powder. The ground powder is what is used to make this meal. First, water is put on fire, and when it boils, a handful of this powder is made into a paste then poured into the boiling water.
After a few minutes, another handful is fetched and added to the paste while been seriously turned with a swallow stick (muciya in Hausa) into smoothness and the desired thickness. Amala is ready to take in.
Yam is an important part of Nigerian societies which is why it is enjoyed in different recipes. A lot of festivals are centered around yam. It provides a healthy amount of potassium, metabolic B vitamins, fiber, etc. Not to mention it is a good source of energy.