Pounded Yam is a staple in many West African homes, but it is not usually eaten by itself, it is often paired with many delicious African soups, and stews like Egusi, okra soup, Jute leaves soup (Ewedu), or Stewed Spinach (Efo Riro).
If you are new to this food, I’ll explain. Pounded is quite similar to mashed potatoes but it has a more doughy consistency. It belongs to a group of food we refer to as swallow because of the way we eat it.
We cut out a morsel from the meal, then we form an indentation on it with the thumb. Then, we scoop some stew or soup over it and we eat it.
Often time it’s swallowed, but sometimes it requires a bit of chewing depending on the type of stew or soup you choose to pair it with. Other food in the swallow group includes fufu – made from cassava or cassava flour, Eba, Amala, and more.
Pounded Yam and Egusi soup
In multiple world regions, other unrelated root crops are also referred to as Yam. For example, in the united states, the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are often referred to as Yams, and in Japan, konjac corms are often referred to as yams. However, all these are totally different from what we use.
Ingredients needed for making pounded Yam
Yam – The type of Yam we use is commonly referred to as puna yam, true yam, or African yam. It has a dark brown rough skin with off-white flesh. They can be boiled, roasted, or fried. If you live outside Africa like the united states, the best place to find true yams will be the ethnic market or online stores. You can read more about the true yam to learn more.
Water – water is the second ingredient and this is needed to boil the yam until it becomes fork-tender.
Growing up, we use what we call Mortar and Pestle to pound the Yam until it becomes smooth and doughy. This takes a lot of time, energy, and sweat but now, I’ve mastered the use of the hand mixer for making my pounded Yam, and this has made life a lot easier.
How to make pounded Yam
To make Pounded Yam, all you need is Puna yam and water.
- Peel the yam and cut it into small cubes.
- Rinse about once or twice till you get clear water.
- Boil until the Yam becomes fork-tender.
- Pound or blend into a dough-like consistency until it’s completely smooth with no yam chunks left.
What to serve with pounded yam
Here are some soups and stews that goes well with Pounded Yam
The amount of water you will need to boil the yam will vary depending on how dry the yam is. Fresh yams in the early season of the harvest will take less water while yams harvested in the later season will require more water. This also applies during the pounding, you will need more water for the dry yam and less water for the less dry yams.
**Pounded Yam is best enjoyed while it’s still hot and fresh.
- 3 lb Yam
- Peel the skins off the yams and slice them into about ½ inch thickness.
- Rinse and place the yams in a pot and add enough water to the level of the Yam.
- Cover and cook the yams for about 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or thereabout until the yams are fork tender.
- Put the boiled yams inside the food processor and blend, until it becomes smooth with a dough-like consistency.
- Serve with your favorite soup or stew
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Sunday 29th of January 2023
I tried this recipe and my pounded yam was crumbling and did not hold up. I am not sure what I could have done wrong😞
Sunday 22nd of January 2023
Thanks for the recipe. Came out great.
Chef Lola's Kitchen
Thursday 2nd of March 2023
You're welcome, Candice. Glad you tried it.
Friday 18th of February 2022
I am so excited to try African food for the first time today (sorry if I should be more specific of the country, I am still learning)my friend and I are going to an African restaurant today and I've tried google to help me, but if you don't mind I know we want to try pounded yam but does it go with Light soup with chicken or pepper soup? We are definitely getting Egusi but wanted to try different soups as well. Thank you for your time!
Chef Lola's Kitchen
Friday 25th of February 2022
Hello, Terinie. How was your first introduction to African cuisine? Pounded yam goes with any kind of soup, especially Nigerian soups.
Tuesday 11th of January 2022
I wish I'd refreshed my memory of the description before I tried this, because boy did I use the wrong yams! I knew it wasn't the orange ones, so I went with the only other kind the store had, and... well, what I've got is light green and looks a little like an alien invasion. I'll have to keep an eye out for true yams when I get back to Toronto, because this recipe looks awfully enticing.
Wednesday 13th of October 2021
Hi is it ok to make a day a head of time?
Wednesday 27th of October 2021
No Kirby, the texture changes so much the next day and you might not be able to enjoy it as much.