How to Cook a Simple Healthy Yam Porridge/Pottage/Asaro

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Yam porridge is a soft, tasty and rich Nigerian staple food made with white yam, fish, palm oil and vegetables, this savoury yam dish is sometimes refers to as yam pottage, yam goulash or Asaro; it looksfirm andtender when cooked. If you are looking for a simple mashed yam recipe to fix for lunch, here is an easy one for you. Yam porridge or asaro is an easy one-pot meal made with yam cubes and healthy ingredients; this is so simple to make such that you can even dump all your ingredients together in one pot and boil the yam until it is cooked.

There are more than two species of yams in Nigeria; some yams are yellow or pure white, while others are brown especially when peeled. Sometimes, you might come across some types of yam species that are very hard, in this case, such kind of yams need to be hit severally with a pestle or hard wood before peeling to get them cooked in time otherwise, they will never become as soft as expected.

What we call yam in West Africa is totally different from the sweet yams that are grown in North America which are softer (when cooked) and too sweet as well; yam porridge is a very popular staple among the Yorubas, and it’s called Asaro. However, the best way to prepare healthy yam porridge/pottage is to use enough green vegetables, tomatoes, and pepper just to limit the quantity of palm oil added to it. One good thing about yam porridge is that you can use your preferred vegetables to prepare it; these vegetables range from spinach, lettuce, ugu, kale, spring onions to carrots, green beans to green peas; these vegetables are very healthy especially when added in porridge like this.

Other starchy tubers such as sweet potatoes, cocoyam, water yam and plantain can be cooked using this same yam porridge method. You can as well decide on the type of meat you want to use to prepare your yam porridge/ pottage. See how I make plantain porridge and potato porridge and you may also love my water yam porridge and my fried yam porridge as well.

This popular Nigerian yam porridge is the best so far and it is sweeter with fish (stockfish, dried fish or smoked fish), however, you can still make yours with beef if you prefer it that way or simply serve your delicious yam porridge with fried chicken just like this beans and plantain porridge. If you really want to enjoy this yam porridge or asaro, add a blend of tomato and pepper sauce to it, this will take your yam porridge to another level. The spicy tomato and pepper blend helps to thicken the porridge and makes it creamy thus leaving it with a more brilliant yellow colour, which could have been gotten from palm oil. You can still add a little palm oil to this porridge the choice is yours.

Yam porridge ingredients

  1. 1 Medium tuber of yam
  2. 3-4 Medium dried fish or smoked fish, dressed
  3. 2 Tables spoons of ground crayfish
  4. 6-8 Pieces of red plum tomatoes
  5. 5 Pieces of red bell peppers or scotch bonnets
  6. 2 green bell peppers, diced
  7. 1 Large red onion, chopped
  8. Thyme, ginger and curry (1 teaspoon each), optional
  9. 4 Cloves of garlic, crushed (optional)
  10. 2 Cooking spoons of palm oil
  11. 3 Seasoning cubes, crushed
  12. Green vegetables as needed (kale, spinach ugu, spring onions or green beans)
Ingredients for making healthy yam porridge
Ingredients for making healthy yam porridge

 

Steps on how to prepare healthy yam porridge/Asaro

  1. Cut your yam into 4 rings and peel of the brown layers with a sharp knife.
  2. Look for any dead spot and remove, drop the yam in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration.
  3. Let the yams sit in cold water until they are needed to avoid discoloration.
  4. Combine tomatoes, garlic and peppers, add a little water and blend into smooth puree.
  5. Drop the yam into a pot and add 1 cup of water and1 cup of fish broth to it and place on heat.
  6. Add dried fish, crayfish, onions, seasoning cubes, thyme curry, ginger and salt and leave to simmer on a medium heat.
  7. You can choose to boil the tomato and pepper mix for the liquid to dry before adding it to the yam porridge or take enough time to fry it until the water evaporates, but never add it to the yam porridge with the water in it.
  8. While the yam is simmering, place a dry pan on heat, add about 1- 2 cooking spoons of palm oil to the pan and heat it up for 20 seconds. Add the tomato and pepper mix to fry for 10 minutes or until the sour taste is gone. Season with salt and 1 seasoning cube to taste.
  9. Return the fried tomato and pepper to the yam porridge and stir to incorporate, leave the yam porridge to cook for 5 minutes to absorb the tomato properly.
  10. Add your leafy vegetables and stir very well. Note: I used spring onions, green beans and green peppers to make my yam porridge/asaro; you can always switch to your preferred leafy greens.
  11. Yam porridge/asaro is cooked once it is sweet and creamy; serve your rich and soft yam porridge as it is.

Easy steps on how to make healthy yam porridge/Asaro

1. Cut your yam into 4 rings and peel of the brown layers with a sharp knife.

A tuber of yam for making healthy yam porridge
A tuber of yam for making healthy yam porridge

 

2. Look for any dead spot and remove, drop the cubed yam in a bowl of water to avoid discoloration.

3. Let the yams sit in cold water until they are needed to avoid discoloration. Combine tomatoes, garlic and peppers, add a little water and blend into smooth puree.

Tomato, pepper, onion and garlic blend for yam porridge
Tomato, pepper, onion and garlic blend for yam porridge

 

4. Drop the yam into a pot and add 1 cup of water and1 cup of fish broth to it and place on heat.

5. Add dried fish, crayfish, onions, seasoning cubes, thyme curry, ginger and salt and leave to simmer on a medium heat.

The cubed yams are cooked in left over fish broth, this will give the porridge a spicy taste and additional flavour compared to just cooking them in just normal plain water
The cubed yams are cooked in left over fish broth, this will give the porridge a spicy taste and additional flavour compared to just cooking them in just normal plain water

 

6. You can choose to boil the tomato and pepper mix for the liquid to dry before adding it to the yam porridge or take enough time to fry it until the water evaporates, but never add it to the yam porridge with the water in it.

7. While the yam is simmering, place a dry pan on heat, add about 1- 2 cooking spoons of palm oil to the pan and heat it up for 20 seconds. Add the tomato and pepper mix to fry for 10 minutes or until the sour taste is gone. Season with salt and 1 seasoning cube to taste.

Frying process of tomato and pepper for yam porridge
Frying process of tomato and pepper for yam porridge

 

8. Return the fried tomato and pepper to the yam porridge and stir to incorporate, leave the yam porridge to cook for 5 minutes to absorb the tomato sauceproperly.

After adding in the tomato mixture, stir the yam porridge to incorporate with the sauce
After adding in the tomato mixture, stir the yam porridge to incorporate with the sauce

 

9. Add your leafy vegetables and stir very well. Note: I used spring onions, green beans and green peppers to make my yam porridge/asaro; you can always switch to your preferred leafy greens.

Add the chopped vegetables and stir to mix properly
Add the chopped vegetables and stir to mix properly

 

Healthy yam porridge recipe is served
Healthy yam porridge recipe is served

 

Nigerian yam porridge recipe
Nigerian yam porridge recipe

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