Yam is a root tuber crop planted in tropical areas during the rainy season. It serves as a major meal for Nigerians. It is a main source of energy as it is rich in carbohydrates and minerals. Yam can be eaten deliciously as a side dish or as a complete meal on its own depending on the method of cooking. To throw more light on this, here are the six popular ways of eating yams:
- Boiled yam: This is the commonest and easiest way to prepare yam. The yam is simply peeled, cut, washed and boiled in slightly salted water for about 30 minutes. Once it becomes soft and edible, it is poured in a sieve to drain. It can then be eaten with scrambled eggs, stew or oil.
- Fried yam: In Yoruba land, this is known as dundu. The yam is firstly peeled, then sliced or diced into smaller sizes. It then is washed and salted before a deep fry in hot vegetable oil or palm oil. It is mostly taken as a snack.
- Pounded yam: Preparing pounded yam is quite stressful and this is what prevents most people from preparing it. Also, the meal is slightly heavy and can take a while before digesting. The yam is cut into large sizes, washed and cooked without adding salt so as to prevent crumbling. It is finally pounded in a mortar with a pestle until it becomes smooth and fluffy. It is then enjoyed with soup.
- Roasted yam: Roasted yam is very common in places like Port Harcourt, and roasted alongside plantain. When preparing roasted yam, the yams can either be peeled and cut, making it easier to get done, or is placed whole over the heat. It is cooked over burning coal. It usually eaten with stew, garnished with onions and roasted fish.
- Yam porridge: Uhmmm, this is a delicacy that can never be ignored because of its attractiveness. When prepared properly, yam porridge can serve as a filling, delicious and healthy meal at the same time. The yam is cut, washed and boiled for about half an hour. (Asaro is a popular method in Yoruba in which the cooked pieces are pounded slightly to form a semi-solid batter). Salt, stock cubes, onions, pepper, palm oil, crayfish and the likes are then added to taste. An alternative method of yam porridge is adding leafy vegetables to it.
- Yam balls: This is not a very popular method as it can only be prepared using a specific species of yam- the water yam. The yam is grated to a soft and watery batter, then spiced with pepper, salt and stock cubes. Then it is moulded into a ball and deep-fried in hot oil.