I stopped at the African food store and I picked up a tuber of yam, ripened plantains and Ugu vegetables. I also stopped at the supermarket to pick up pre cut chunks of fresh fish. So you know what’s next? My yam and plantain porridge dripping with fish, prawns, spicy tomatoes, and a whole long list of other things plus my secret ingredient. Have I gotten your mouth watering already? Good. A couple of readers asked for my recipe for Yam Porridge, especially for my tips on making yam porridge light and creamy with lots of sauce without being watery. To those readers, you won’t have to wait much longer and you will soon understand why I labelled it as deluxe. it is truly deluxe.
Yam and I didn’t seem to agree growing up so, boiled yam o, fried yam o, porridge o (Asaro as the Yoruba’s call it) I stayed away. Mummy tried all she could to make me eat yam and I just didn’t like it. Then my mum hired this lovely woman who was worked as our maid for years. She coaxed me into eating yam one day and I found out that hers tasted better than my mum’s and I enjoyed it. It was our little secret during the lunches she prepared during my mum’s absence. My mother ran her own business so she did not have traditional working hours, so on this fateful day she popped in during lunch and was quite surprised to see me eating yam and stew. She asked the maid how she convinced me to eat yam and she must have had a strange twinkle in her eye because my mum proceeded to take a bite out of my food and I remember that she and the maid shared a funny look but both of them didn’t say a word. I didn’t take much notice of it and in the following years I came to love eating Yam. Would you believe that the secret was sugar? Lol. I didn’t find out until my late teens when a friend casually mentioned that the best way to encourage children to eat yam was to boil it with sugar and salt. Oh, sooooooo that was what the maid did? I never knew at all. I remember saying this to my mum and she laughed. Her reason was hey, she got you eating yam didn’t she? There were no more complaints at the table from you, and you eat your breakfast or lunch without a peep from you, so win-win for everyone. So, mummy’s out there, if your children are giving you grief when you serve yam, just boil it with a little sugar in addition to salt. Honestly, it makes a lot of difference and a little sugar won’t kill them. Kids are active, so they will burn off the extra sugar.
Now, I love yam. I eat it boiled with stew, eggs or the many sauces that I make. I also cut it into chips, salt it and fry. TFC introduced Yamarita Fries and it is a genius idea. It has the same recipe as Southern Fried Chicken and I will briefly type it below, so you can switch things up in your kitchen and try something beyond simple fried yam
1. Cut the yam into thick rectangular slices
2. Beat eggs into a bowl and season it with salt, seasoning cube and cayenne pepper (dry pepper)
3. Pour flour unto a flat surface like a tray or your kitchen work top
4. Dip the yam into the bowl of eggs and ensure that it throughly coats it – do this one slice at a time
5. Take the yam out of the eggs, and roll it in flour. Shake off any excess flour and deep fry it in hot oil
…….. and that’s it really. Yamarita fries in your home. Serve with a delicious tomato and pepper sauce. P.S – I was never a staff of TFC neither am I advertising for them or poaching their recipe. They simply used an old recipe of Souther Fried Chicken which is well known by everyone. They replicated that recipe with yam and I commend them for the brilliance of that idea. I believe you should be able to replicate something you have had in a restaurant or confectionery in your home. It saves you going back there all the time and thereby saving you money. Lol
So, back to Yam and Plantain porridge. If you are wondering why add plantain, since most people just use yam, well I’m back to my secret ingredient. The Sugar Effect. Plantains provide that extra sweetness to the dish which I am now addicted to I’m afraid. If I am going to prepare Yam porridge without plantains, I add sugar for extra sweetness. Trust me, if you have never cooked this dish with sugar before try it one day and you will be pleasantly surprised.
You will need
1 dozen pieces of cubed Yam
1 ripe average sized Plantain
1 medium sized Red Onion
1 cup of Crayfish
2 -3 pieces of Ata Rodo – scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
1 Tatashe – red bell pepper
1 sticks of Spring Onions – scallions or salad onions
1 pound of deveined Prawns
1 pound of chunky White Fish – i used Cod
1 handful of Smoked Prawns
1 handful of Smoked Fish – i used Eja Sawa
1 handful of Ugu leaves – you can use spinach to substitute
Seasoning Cubes – Knorr Chicken cubes preferred
Getting the deluxe feeling already? This is a whole lot just for Yam Porridge, I know but hey live a little people, it is deeeeeelicious. Lol.The pictures of all the ingredients will be found on the Ingredientspeadia page HERE
1. Blend the ata rodo, tomatoes and half of the red onion and set aside. Pour the pepper into a bowl, rinse the crayfish and roughly blend. Chop the spring onions into round pieces and chop the rest of the onions.
2. Cut the yam into a dozen cubes and set aside.
3. Pick a couple of ugu leaves of the stalk, rinse thoroughly with cold water and finely cut into shreds.
4. Rinse all the other components – prawns (smoked and fresh), fish (smoked and fresh).
5. Heat up 1 – 2 cooking spoons of Palm oil in the pot, add the chopped onions and let it fry till the onions are translucent, then add the pepper, the smoked fish, smoked prawns and crayfish. Let this fry for 5 minutes till it forms a thick sauce that smells and tastes great from the fishy ingredients.
6. Add 1 cup of water, then crush in 1 seasoning cube. Let this boil then carefully add the prawns and chunks of white fish and let this boil for 3 – 5 minutes. Once you can see that the prawns and fish have cooked, take them out. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: you take them out because sea food only needs to be exposed to heat for a short time. You will re-introduce them to the pot later.
7. Add 2 more cups of water, re-season with salt and 1 seasoning cube. Taste, and when you are satisfied, then add the cubed pieces of yam, cover the pot and let it boil for 15 – 20 minutes to cook the yam in this delicious fish flavoured tomato stock.
8. Once the yams are soft, turn the heat down to low, get out the wooden spoon and start mashing. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: you have to be very careful here if you want a good balance of creamy porridge. Some people cook porridge with a lot of tomato stock flowing from the porridge, personally I don’t like that because it feels like I am eating yam and watery tomato stew. I love that creamy, gooey porridge feeling amidst chunks of yam.
9. If that is what you prefer too, to achieve this you have to mentally group the yam into portions. If you have 12 big chunks, first you break each piece into half then pulverise 1/3 – 1/2 of the rest into a creamy mash, so you are left with a good balance of creamy porridge and chunks of yam
10. Peel the skin of the plantain and cut into rounds directly into the pot, also add the chopped vegetables, and re-introduce the prawns and the cooked chunks of fish.
You will have a thick creamy mash on your hands so add a little water to dilute it and to cook the plantain slices and vegetables. Stir to incorporate everything properly and leave to cook for 2 – 3 minutes
…………and that’s your Yam and Plantain Porridge. Plate and sprinkle over the roundly cut spring onions
as always, I have to show off some of my newly improved pictures, so pardon me. Lol…..
and more pictures…………..
So, if you have that special person that you want to spoil a little, or you’ve been thinking of a way to treat your family and you’ve been racking your head on what to prepare, well try this Deluxe Yam and Plantain porridge, and I guarantee you that they will be well taken care of.