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Yams


Druckenbrodt
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We've got some yams sitting in the kitchen. They look at me reproachfully every time I enter. They don't have to say anything; they know that I know that they know what I'm thinking. It doesn't help that almost all my cookbooks are mean to them - either ignoring them completely or bitching about how boring they are. But I believe every food ingredient has a redeeming aspect to its character, just as with people; even London traffic wardens are capable of being loved. It's just not always immediately obvious how.

Anyone got any really 'yammy' recipes they'd like to share? Or prepared to pen an ode to the yam? Or just a simple defence? I'd really like to be converted but I think it will be quite a challenge.

And to make it more challenging my boyfriend, who acquired the yams, is a very athletic vegetarian with worrying vegan tendencies who is avoiding overly greasy food while trying to lose some kilos for a fast marathon. So I can't liven them up with bacon, a kilo of butter, a vat of cream and a jug of brandy or anything like that.

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Without that kilo of butter or vat of cream, you are probably sunk. My two favorite ways of dealing with yams are the simplest . . . baked and served with butter or in a gratin with heavy cream (that breaks into butter and milk solids) with maybe a little bit of nutmeg.

I really don't like adding sweet stuff to them but did for Thanksgiving at the insistance of my family that they wanted a sweet side dish. I added some dulche de leche to the gratin. I really hate the typical addition of pineapple, marshmallows, raisins, nuts and all the other stuff that gets thrown into the typical Thanksgiving side dish. But, those with a sweet tooth like it. One thing for sure, you won't have to taste the yams. :raz:

Hmmm . . . vegetarian marathoner . . . probably ought to talk with a nutritionist. Fat is not necessarily a bad thing. (My son does marathons but isn't a vegetarian. His nutritionist worries about calories when he is training . . . so he adds cream to his protein shakes. Oh, he has about the lowest cholesterol on the planet.)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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how about roasting them in a hot oven with some onion and carrot then serve as a side?

or roast and add to some risotto?

or roast and add to some chicken stock, some thyme and shredded chicken for a soup?

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I love yams. I'm assuming you mean the red sweet potatoes and not Asian ones.

For a vegan dish, I would just bake them until they ooze carmelly juice. At this point they can be eaten with nothing more than a sprinkle of salt although allspice is good, too. They will be very soft so they don't need the added fat unless you want it.

I don't understand the need so many have to add sugary stuff to something that is already sweet.

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We had a fabulous yam dish for Christmas made spontaneously and very healthily by my aunt. Stirfry, well I guess panfry, yams, apples, cranberries, onions, evoo, salt and pepper, and a little ginger. Yum!

" You soo tall, but you so skinny. I like you, you come home with me, I feed you!"- random japanese food worker.

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Here are links for favorites of ours:

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad, Everyday Food recipe

We also like Soy-glazed Sweet Potatoes from Local Flavors.  The ingredients include sweet potatoes, sesame oil, brown sugar, mirin, garlic, soy sauce, & sesame seeds.  Let me know if you'd like the recipe.

Yes, please share the recipe. I would love to try the Soy-glazed Sweet Potatoes.

Baked sweet potatoes with a little butter & cinnamon (next time I'm going to try the allspice suggestion) are one of my favorite comfort foods. We also like to cut sweet potatoes as for french fries & roast them tossed with a little olive oil & cajun seasoning.

pat w.

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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. . . . .

. . . We also like to cut sweet potatoes as for french fries & roast them tossed with a little olive oil & cajun seasoning. 

pat w.

Now that is an inspired idea! I just added sweet potatoes to my shopping list. :biggrin:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Yams make a good addition to fluffy mashed potatoes, just as parsnips do.

Boil all three separately and proceed as for mashed paotatoes, adding a very small amount of cream or milk. I use a potato ricer to eliminate lumps.

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Roast them in the oven (peeled and cut into chunks) with some olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary - we cook them that way and find them delicious.

This is my favorite way to have them too...though I skip the rosemary.

I also like them as soup. Simmer with some vegetable stock, potatoes, carots, onions, bay leaf, garlic, salt and pepper til tender. Remove bay leaf and puree. If he eats dairy you can add a little cream to the finished soup or skip it.

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Here are links for favorites of ours:

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad, Everyday Food recipe

We also like Soy-glazed Sweet Potatoes from Local Flavors.  The ingredients include sweet potatoes, sesame oil, brown sugar, mirin, garlic, soy sauce, & sesame seeds.   Let me know if you'd like the recipe.

Yes, please share the recipe. I would love to try the Soy-glazed Sweet Potatoes.

Baked sweet potatoes with a little butter & cinnamon (next time I'm going to try the allspice suggestion) are one of my favorite comfort foods. We also like to cut sweet potatoes as for french fries & roast them tossed with a little olive oil & cajun seasoning.

pat w.

Found a link for you. Scroll down about 1/2 way.

Looks like I need to make a trip to the grocery store :biggrin:

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I love yams. I'm assuming you mean the red sweet potatoes and not Asian ones.

For a vegan dish, I would just bake them until they ooze carmelly juice. At this point they can be eaten with nothing more than a sprinkle of salt although allspice is good, too. They will be very soft so they don't need the added fat unless you want it.

I don't understand the need so many have to add sugary stuff to something that is already sweet.

Well, in fact I didn't mean the red sweet potatoes, although I'm not particularly wild about them either. But this thread has certainly given me a few ideas that I really like the sound of. In particular those soy glazed sweet potatoes...hmm... Apart from roasted red peppers, I've got some weird thing about naturally sweet veg - I find them really quite revolting. It's mainy root veg; carrots, turnips, swedes, beetroot, but also pumpkins and squash are a bit creepy... It's a last bastion of food prejudice that I need to overcome. I'm really very open minded about most food, and I wonder how much my dislike is a last vestige of a petty childhood thing, or whether it's almost like a genetic thing, where I'm pre-wired to dislike them. Logically, there's no reason for it. I don't mind sweet things in savoury dishes; e.g. prunes in stews, sultanas in rice, pomegranate seeds in salads, using fruit juices when cooking meats - all these things can be delicious. And as I say, red peppers are divine. But yellow and orange peppers...euch... (Maybe it's a colour thing? Is there some common element in orange food which I can't hack? )

Anyway I'm talking about the other yams - the long thin white things with the brown, bark-like skin which come from various countries in Africa. I think in the US you call sweet potatoes yams, whereas in the UK (where I hail from) they are two separate and distinct things.

So the yam challenge remains unanswered...

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Without that kilo of butter or vat of cream, you are probably sunk. My two favorite ways of dealing with yams are the simplest . . . baked and served with butter or in a gratin with heavy cream (that breaks into butter and milk solids) with maybe a little bit of nutmeg.

I really don't like adding sweet stuff to them but did for Thanksgiving at the insistance of my family that they wanted a sweet side dish. I added some dulche de leche to the gratin. I really hate the typical addition of pineapple, marshmallows, raisins, nuts and all the other stuff that gets thrown into the typical Thanksgiving side dish. But, those with a sweet tooth like it. One thing for sure, you won't have to taste the yams.  :raz:

Hmmm . . . vegetarian marathoner . . . probably ought to talk with a nutritionist. Fat is not necessarily a bad thing. (My son does marathons but isn't a vegetarian. His nutritionist worries about calories when he is training . . . so he adds cream to his protein shakes. Oh, he has about the lowest cholesterol on the planet.)

That recipe does sound good... I especially like the idea of the addition of nutmeg.

The vegetarian/nutrition/exercise thing is quite interesting.

I think you're probably right about talking to a nutritionist - my boyfriend wants to get his blood tested to check he's getting enough iron etc. I know people get quite heated about it and I really don't know enough to have a strong opinion. Jonathan, who has the sort of enquiring mind which leads him off on mad, amazon visiting tangents, has recently been buying and reading tons of sports physiology and nutrition text books. It seems to me, from what he's been telling me as a result of his research, that although there certainly are issues for vegetarians who do a lot of sport, they aren't quite as dramatic as omnivores sometimes make out. I think the real issue is that vegetarians need to be more well informed about the nutrional values of what they're eating, than omnivores who are happy grazing on lots of different things, and are therefore more likely to get all the nutrients they need by accident. I think there's a lot to be said for that Japanese idea of 20 different flavours a day (or something along those lines.) But it also seems that many of the virtues meat is supposed to have are a bit of a myth - e.g. it may contain a lot of protein or iron, but it's actually harder for your body to digest these things from a meat source rather than a vegetable source. I can't remember exactly what the deal is on this (I wasn't really paying enough attention.)

Anyway it's a subject that people seem to have very strong opinions about. In France where we live, for instance, there's such a strong cultural bias towards meat eating that if you tell a doctor you're vegetarian, the common reaction is a sort of tut-tut. Whereas I could imagine that if you lived in California, the opposite might be the case.

Anyway, I love the fact that sport allows me to have second and third helpings of everything. It wasn't until I started taking up cycling and running quite seriously in my late twenties/early thirties that I really vividly understood that food = fuel. It's amazing what happens if you don't eat enough! Oh, how I love 'carbohydrate loading' now before a big race...

sorry, bit of a ramble...

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OK: assuming you mean yam = colocasia

(sounds like it from your description and distinguishing

it from red skinned sweet potatoes).

Indian food has a ton of recipes for yam, which

is called "arbi" in Hindi. It's really great.

Here are a couple of links:

http://www.bawarchi.com/contribution/contrib4742.html

http://www.indianfoodforever.com/microwave...kedar-arbi.html

Many many more, but this is just for starters.

Almost no oil, no cream or butter, etc.

Lots of spices....

Milagai

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If we're talking about the red-skinned variety, the solution is very simple - a light brush with oil, sprinkle with salt, oven-roast; split them open and eat with sriracha. One of the best foods I've ever known. Equally, the sweet potato fries mentioned upthread, with a sauce made of sriracha and about a metric shit-ton of minced garlic = makes you want to die delicious.

Since the original post is about real yams, I'll have to confess that I've never prepared one myself.

Jennie

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OK:  assuming you mean yam = colocasia

(sounds like it from your description and distinguishing

it from red skinned sweet potatoes).

Indian food has a ton of recipes for yam, which

is called "arbi" in Hindi.  It's really great.

Here are a couple of links:

http://www.bawarchi.com/contribution/contrib4742.html

http://www.indianfoodforever.com/microwave...kedar-arbi.html

Many many more, but this is just for starters.

Almost no oil, no cream or butter, etc.

Lots of spices....

Milagai

This is great - thank you Milagai. Yes I think these are the sort of yams I'm dealing with here. I like the idea of using Indian recipes. We have a very well-loved copy of Yamuna Devi's 'Lord Krishna's Cuisine; The Art of Vegetarian Cooking' which results in consistently delicious dishes but it only has one yam recipe. When I looked under 'arbi' just now it had one recipe for arbi leaves. Anyway with your links I now feel a bit more inspired. Can you explain what beaten rice is however? And what if I try to cook them without a pressure cooker? Do you think it would be OK to, say, cut them in half and boil them? Or bake them?

jeniac42 - I like the sound of your recipe - I'm assuming for sweet potatoes? What is sriracha? Also like the idea of any recipe that calls for a 'metric shit-ton' of minced garlic.

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I like them steamed and dipped into sugar.

There's yam cake, which is steamed, but kinda time consuming. It involves chopping/julienning the yam, then making a rice flour slurry (i believe it's flavored with five spice powder, amongst other things) to steam it in.

It's usually accompanied with deep fried sliced shallots and dried shrimp, but I think he can skip the latter.

I think you could cut it into big cubes and boil in ginger/pandan syrup too.

There's bubur chacha, but that uses a lot of coconut milk.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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First off, poha is sometimes also labelled chivda, chiwa or aval. It's sold in Indian stores, and is rice that has been husked, parboiled, flattened into flakes by passed through rollers, then dried. It cooks extremely quickly. There is a picture here: poha.

There is a Thai product that looks almost identical but has been tinted green. It has been flavored with pandan essence, and is not suitable for use in Indian savoury dishes.

Sriracha is a type of Thai chili sauce. It can be relatively sweet and garlicy. There is a picture here. Watch out if you buy it, it can be terribly addicting. :smile:

Now on to yams (deep breath):

The term yams gets used to refer to so many different plants that I suspect there is still some confusion going on here.

Arbi actually refers to taro (colocasia esculenta). These are usually quite short (5-6 cm long), with a brown skin that is sometimes smoother, sometimes shaggier. There is a Wikipedia picture and entry on them here. The taste is not particularly sweet IMO.

There are many slightly different versions of taro plants, and they have differing amounts of oxalic acid. If you buy them from an Indian grocery store, be aware of the oxalic acid under the skin. Peeling them raw can cause skin irritation, in the form of redness and itching. It doesn't last all that long, but feels highly unpleasant. Boiling neutralises this, or wear gloves if you are going to peel them raw. The easiest way to deal with the irritation factor of taro is to first boil whole, then drain and DISCARD (due to the oxalic acid) the water used for boiling.

The time required for boiling varies depending on size, but when not using a pressure cooker I usually boil them for about 20-25 minutes. Once boiled, they can easily be slipped out of their skins in pretty much the same way as peeling boiled potatoes. Then slice, etc. and use as the recipe directs.

I haven't tried it, but I suspect that baking them would not give particularly good results.

Personally I've found that the taro sold in Chinese and Japanese stores (Japanese name: sato-imo) seems to have less oxalic acid, and is therefore less likely to irritate the skin. However, erring on the side of caution is probably wise.

"Yam" however, can also be used to refer to cassava (Manihot esculenta) This is also called manioc or yuca. Your description of long and thin with bark-like skin and sold in African shops makes me think that maybe it's these you are referring to. It is often around 30 cm (1 foot) long. There is a Wikipedia entry together with a picture here. There are a lot of really delicious sounding cassava recipes from South America, the Phillipines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc. I'm sure people here can suggest some particular favourite recipes if it does turn out to be cassava that you want to cook.

Edited so what I've said makes more sense, and also to add, there are even more plants again termed 'yam', such as 'purple yam', 'elephant foot yam', etc. I haven't listed them here because they don't fit the description of what you have.

Edited by anzu (log)
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The best yam/sweet potato recipe I know is a sweet potatoes anna, thin slices of sweet potatoes layered with thinly sliced leeks, butter, thyme, salt, and pepper, baked until tender. You can weight it down and unmold it, but I usually don't. I just serve it from the dish. People who don't like sweet potatoes love this.

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The best yam/sweet potato recipe I know is a sweet potatoes anna, thin slices of sweet potatoes layered with thinly sliced leeks, butter, thyme, salt, and pepper, baked until tender. You can weight it down and unmold it, but I usually don't. I just serve it from the dish. People who don't like sweet potatoes love this.

you're right, in that basically any recipe that treats sweet potatoes

as savory and thus includes spices, works out MUCH better than

those which treat them as sweets and bury them under toxic amounts

of sugary ingredients. i continue to be baffled by the latter approach.

another great sweet potato recipe is africa-inspired:

peel, slice into fingers, saute in butter (just a little or use XVOO),

with ginger, cayenne, salt, lemon juice, honey, raisins,

until glazed and done.

won't really work for arbis.....

milagai

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I know that this is insanely late, but my roommates and I like to compose haikus regarding our terrible kitchen fiascos. Mine of course, involves the yam:

Stupid yam. Oh damn!

Why did you poop on my new

aluminum pan?

:dork:

Edited by gini (log)
Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.
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yams, yams

tastes better than spam.

On that note, Mr. Duck loves yams. As a side, my favorite preparation is to simply oven roast them, as mentioned upthread. During the summer, we stick them on the hot coals when grilling. Cinnamon butter goes really well with them. And on weekends when I have more time to cook, I've also made a curried yam & chicken stew.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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