My best friend and I were standing at a Brixton market stall when he asked me how do you cook African yam? As I stood there running through a few options including yam fries, I noticed the stall holder looking at me in confusion. Being rather curious I asked him what was wrong and folks, you should have heard the horror in his voice when he informed me ‘you CAN’T fry yams’. Ten minutes of trying to convince him did absolutely no good and he was still shaking his head as I left laden with 2 huge yams and 10 plantains.
There are a few different ways to cook yam fries but I got rather excited by this version from the blog Eating Nigerian. It involves coating the yam chips in a batter that is flavoured by the addition of finely chopped red (bell) peppers. I had completely forgotten that I used to make similar batter to coat things in Sierra Leone. So guess what I made that very same day, and the next day too?
These yam fries are best eaten hot and taste good dipped in some rich peanut butter gravy or a spicy scotch bonnet gravy. ‘Natin nor sweet pass dat‘, as we would say back in Sierra Leone.
A little word about yam…………
And by yam, I mean African yam (not sweet potato which seems to be called yam in America), the white slightly sweet tuber you see in the picture above. If you live in England you can get them from places like Peckham and Dalston and Brixton markets. In the Brixton stall I visited, they had white yam, yellow yam and puna yam. I just went for the white yam.
And oh how time flies. I have been sharing my culinary adventures with you for three whole years. And you guys are still here hanging out with me. Thank you.
A few blogging highlights:
- A dream come true is that my recipes will be appearing in the December 2015 issue of a printed food magazine. Yeap. Me, published. I will tell you more when the magazine hits the shelves.
- I have gone on some fantastic food press trips to discover culinary Tours as well as eating the best ever sushi in Paris and London with Sushishop.
- My sister J and I have rediscovered some of my grandmother’s Sierra Leonean recipes and I will be sharing these with you over the next year.
- My photography has continued to improve due to a whole load of practice and hanging out with some really amazing and inspiring food bloggers and hanging out on instagram (come say hello).
- I have discovered interesting combinations and flavours, a gazillion baked doughnuts recipes (watch this space), cheesy baked plantains and rose petal pesto.
- I have collaborated with some really awesome brands producing content on my blog, on their websites and for their ebooks.
- Folks, I am doing what I love and I will not change it for the world.
Here is to year four.
Enough celebrating for now. Here is how to cook African yam fries one way.
Sierra Leone flavours – is the spot on my blog where I share both traditional Sierra Leonean recipes and West African fusion recipes.
- ½ medium tuber of yam, peeled, cut into fries and rinsed
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 large egg
- ¼ red bell pepper very finely diced
- Oil for deep frying
- Place yam fries in pot, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until yam is cooked through. Make sure it is not too soft or it all goes mushy. Mine took about 10 mins of simmering.
- In a large bowl, mix flour and water together into a paste before adding in the egg, pepper and salt. Gently mix in the yam fries and coat them with the batter.
- Heat the oil on medium high heat until it is hot enough for deep frying and using a spoon, scoop one yam fry at a time along with some batter and drop into the oil. Don't put too many in the pot at the same time. Fry until golden, turn them over and repeat on the other side.
- Remove yam fries from the oil unto paper towel to drain the excess oil, store in a warm place and cook the rest of the fries.
- Serve warm with a chilli or peanut butter gravy.