Yam is one of those foods that you cant do without, you talk about energy giving foods, you would have to mention yam and yam is included in the six classes of food and has no side effect when eaten, provided it is well cooked.
Yams are edible tuber crop grown widely in Nigeria. They are good source of carbohydrates and are loaded with healthy minerals and Vitamins. Yams are cultivated both locally and commercially in Nigeria and they are of different varieties such as white guinea yam, yellow yam, water yam and sweet yam. The widely used variety is the white yam and water yam.
Yams are mostly cultivated during the beginning of march- April and are harvested after 11 months, this is to say they are perennial crops. The most important thing about yams is that, yams has a special place in the hearts of Nigerians such that ritualism and festivity are usually celebrated before the new yam arrival in Nigeria to welcome it to different communities.
Yams could be very expensive especially during the planting season and it is sometimes difficult to make good selection when purchasing it. I once prepared boiled yam for sauce one day, I kept cooking and checking the yam to see if it is soft for almost 1 hour and I was surprised to see the yam as hard as they were before I cooked them. This happened simply because the yam wasnt a good one; this could be a challenge to some of us, knowing the best yam to choose when at the market is not that easy. Only few sincere and honest yam sellers will be able to point out the truth about the different species of yam and then guide one on which one to go with. Here are few guides on how to select good yams.
- Yams with hairs are the best to pick also, good yams remain white after cutting and all through the cooking
- A good yam should have hairs though not all yams that are good have hairs
- New yams are watery and tender in nature since they are fresh from the harvest, they contain fluid which make them tasteless and break down immediately when cooked.
- A good yam should not be soft when pressed. The softness is a sign that shows that yam is getting rotten and should be avoided.
- Avoid yams with crack skin and dark holes in the flesh, this could mean that the yams have been eaten by some pest or they were injured during harvest.
- Yams with very big round heads are hard when cooked, and may never get soft no matter what you do them.
Yams are used for different dishes in different part of the world. Baking yams with an oven make them more crispier with uniformity of colour while grilling it with charcoal grill is even easy, delicious and gives it a smoky flavour; it can also be It can be pan or deep fried with vegetable oil like is done with sweet potato chips, cooked as porridge/pottage, boiled white, made into pounded yam and eaten with soup, used as thickener for thickening afia efere (calabar white soup),mashed and fried into yam balls among other things. When deep frying yam chips, your oil must be hot enough to enable the chips crispy on the outside otherwise, it wont be possible to achieve this. Also, the pan should not be overcrowded to avoid the yam chips being steamed rather than crispy fries. It is extremely dangerous to add water in a boiling oil as this could lead to oil splatter and could lead to domestic fire outbreak.
Ingredients for preparing crispy yam chips
- 1 medium sized yam
- 35cl vegetable oil
- 1tsp chilli pepper
- 2tsp curry powder
- tsp salt,
Steps on how to fry crispy yam chips with vegetable oil
- Peel yam and dice into round shapes and further cut theminto thin slices. Place in a bowl containing water, rinse and drain the water out completely. You can soak the yam in salt water for about 30 minutes before frying them to remove excess starch if you want or just proceed to step two.
2. Spread chilli pepper, salt and curry powder to the sliced chips and mix well to coat .Leave to sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the seasonings. You can even dry them in the sun if not eating them as breakfast.
3. Heat up vegetable oil on a stove or gas cooker till very hot. when the oil is very hot, fry yamchips in batches; with a slotted spoon, turn each side of the chips occasionally to cook evenly,until golden brown and crisp.
4. When you are completely done with the whole chips in the bowl, transfer the fried chips into an oil drainer to drain the excess oil from the chips
Note: It is better to eat them as soon as possible; keeping them longer would make the chips to lose it crunchiness. You can still achieve a similar or a better outcome of crispy chips by baking them with an oven.
Other things you should know about yams
- Some yams usually have change in colouration after they have been peeled
- Yams need to be fried on medium heat to allow them cook properly on the inside.
- Some species of yams could be very hard such that after they are fried or cooked, they will still be hard, though they may be good ones; In this case, you may have to hit the tuber with a pestle to soften it before peeling it.
- When you touch raw yam and you notice that it is soft, it means the yam is rotten on the inside and its not good for eating.
- Some yams even after hitting with pestle, you may empty your gas cylinder and they wont still get soft, it shows that such yams are wild and are not good for eating.