Yams are a nutritious root vegetable that has its roots in Africa and Asia. They are a starchy vegetable that is packed with various nutrients like fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Yams are great for maintaining overall health and strong immunity.
Cooking yams can be a bit intimidating if you are not familiar with their texture and flavor. However, once you know how to cook yams, you can enjoy them in a variety of dishes. In this article, we will discuss how to cook yams perfectly and deliciously.
Before we dive into various ways of cooking yams, let’s first understand how to prepare them. Follow these steps for preparing yams:
1. Wash the yams under running water to remove dirt and impurities.
2. Once washed, you can either peel or leave the skin on, depending on your preference. If you want to peel the yam, slice off both the end edges, make a shallow cut through the skin, and then use a peeler to remove the skin.
3. Cut the yams into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly. You can cut them into cubes, wedges, or slices as per your preference.
4. If you’re not planning on cooking them right away, place them in a bowl of water to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s dive into how to cook yams.
One of the easiest and most popular ways of cooking yams is boiling them. Here’s how you can boil yams:
1. In a large pot, add enough water to fully cover the yams. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
2. Add peeled and cut yams to the boiling water and let it cook for about 20-30 minutes or until tender.
3. Once the yams are fully cooked, drain the hot water, and let the yams cool down a bit.
4. You can serve boiled yams as a side dish with a sprinkle of salt or any seasoning of your choice.
Roasting yams is another great way to bring out their natural flavors. Follow these simple steps to roast yams:
1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut peeled and clean yams into wedges or cubes and toss them in a bowl with olive oil to ensure they’re evenly coated.
3. Sprinkle some salt, black pepper, or your favorite seasoning mix onto the yams, and toss them again to season them well.
4. Place the seasoned yams onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure they’re placed evenly on the tray, and not overcrowded.
5. Roast the yams in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until they’re fully tender and golden brown.
6. Once done, remove them from the oven and serve immediately.
Frying yams can also be an excellent way to cook them, especially for making crispy yam chips. Here’s how to fry yams:
1. Peel the yams and cut them into thin slices.
2. Heat some oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat.
3. Once the oil is hot, add the yams into the pan and let them fry until they turn crispy and golden brown. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
4. Once done, use a slotted spoon to remove the yam chips from the pan and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil.
5. You can serve fried yam chips as a snack or a side dish.
Mashed yams are a classic side dish that is both comforting and delicious. Here’s how to make mashed yams:
1. Boil the yams in a large pot of salted water until they’re soft, about 20-25 minutes.
2. Drain the water and mash the yams until they’re smooth and creamy.
3. Add butter, salt, a pinch of nutmeg, and a splash of milk to the mashed yams and mix well until everything is combined.
4. Serve the mashed yams as a side dish with your favorite main course.
Q. How can I tell if a yam is fresh?
A. Fresh yams should be firm, smooth, and free of any deep cracks or withered skin. They should also be free of mold or soft spots.
Q. Do I need to boil the yams before frying them?
A. Yes, boiling yams before frying them ensures that they’re fully cooked and tender. Frying alone may result in unevenly cooked yams.
Q. Can I cook yams in a slow cooker?
A. Yes, yams can be cooked in a slow cooker by placing them into the pot with some liquid and cooking them on a low heat setting for 6-8 hours.
Q. Can I freeze cooked yams?
A. Yes, you can freeze cooked yams by placing them in a sealed container or freezer bag. Just make sure they’re completely cooled down before freezing them. They can be stored for up to 3 months in the freezer.
In conclusion, cooking yams is easy and versatile. You can bake, boil, fry, or roast yams, depending on your preference. Just remember to prepare them well and choose the right cooking method to bring out their natural flavors. Try out these methods and enjoy the various dishes you can make with yams.