Monday, July 11, 2011

More winning ways with (African) yam: Recipes #79 and 80

I'm jealously guarding the Ghanaian yam from Washington DC. I used part of it to make the oto I wrote about on Saturday. I also made Sam some yam chips, and today I made some "coated yam" (or what Barbara playfully calls "African French Toast").

Here are 2 recipes, both quite simple to prepare.
It seems almost easier to get what are called "potato chips" in Ghana (what we know as "French fries" in the U.S.), imported frozen from abroad, than it is to get freshly made, tasty indigenous yam chips, aka fried yam (yєlє ni ashi). It makes me sad. As an aside, while plantain chips are readily available, both from green and ripe plantains, both salted and spiced, I don't believe I have ever noticed any chips being sold made from other root vegetables such as (likely white) sweet potatoes (atomo), or cassava (duade) though traditionally both are made. (Fried cassava is very common in Brazil.) Occasionally one may see fried cocoyams (koliko) for sale.

Recipe #79: Ghana-style Yam Chips

Please remember that you must use a proper African yam (or similar), not a "sweet potato.")
  • It is quite simple to  make yam chips: peel and cut the yam as you would for French fries (as thick or thin as you like) and leave them in salted water for about half an hour or so.
  • Heat your deep fryer or cooking pot with enough vegetable oil to cover the fries (chips) to about 360-375 degrees F. Do not over-fill the pot so that it will boil over when you add the yam into it.
  • Drain the water off the yam fries before you put them in the water (I usually blot them with paper towels to limit the splattering.
  • Cook them in batches until they are golden, stirring occasionally, and remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Salt them if necessary, and drain on paper or paper towels. 
 If you make this, most Ghanaian males away from home will become your friend for life, especially if you serve them with some shito or fresh pepper sauce (or a tasty stew). No hamburgers, please.

Recipe #80: Coated Yam (or Savory Yam "French toast"-style) with onion omelet

The novelty in this dish is that instead of bread, yam is used, and also, it is, as is often the case in Ghana, savory, not sweet. This is also an excellent use of leftover yam, because then there is no need to precook it.

Assemble the ingredients:

  • yam (enough for each person to have ~4  pieces)
  • 2 eggs per person
  • water for cooking the yam
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (I would rather substitute black or red pepper), or to taste
  • 1/2 thinly sliced onion (for 4 people), more or less as desired
  • for garnish: tomatoes, bell peppers, etc., as desired

  1. Peel, cut and rinse 4 slices of yam, each about 1/2 inch thick. Cut each round slice in half, and put them into a saucepan with enough water to cover the yam and 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, covered, and allow the yam to cook for about 10 or 15 minutes. Drain off the water (you can save this to use in soup another day if you like) and set the yam aside.
  3. Break the eggs into a bowl add 1/2 teaspoon of pepper of your choice (white, black, red) and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and mix all well with a fork or wire whisk.
  4. Heat a frying pan (nonstick if available) and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Dip the yam slices, a few at a time in the beaten egg, turning to coat them. When the oil in the pan is hot, add the yam slices to the pan and allow them to brown on the bottom. Drizzle just a little of the egg mixture on the top of the slices (less that 1/2 teaspoon per piece). They are not supposed to be "wet." When the bottom is nicely browned, turn it over and allow the other side to brown.
  5. Remove the cooked yam to a warm plate (or low oven) and saute the onion in the pan. Add a pinch of salt. Pour the remaining egg on top of the onion slices in the pan and cook until set. Turn and flip the egg mixture in half to make an omelet. East while warm.
To serve: this looks lovely when half the plate or platter holds the yam slices, the other half the omelet, and is garnished with tomato, green pepper, and perhaps a little ketchup or hot sauce drizzled over it. Obviously, this "French toast" is NOT to be eaten with syrup.

It is simple and satisfying.

1 comment:

anthia-ofo said...

Ooh this is new to me. I have some yam so I'll try it. My 20yr old daughter wants to know if you have a cookbook she can buy. I've sent her a link to your blog. She doesn't understand why I cook without measuring and glad to find someone who not only knows Ghanaian food but has proper recipes.