People who love to grill vegetables would definitely enjoy grilling yams. Even though yams are not usually found in ordinary bowls of grilled vegetables, you are going to have a wonderful time grilling these edible roots. Yams are starchy tubers that grill very nicely. They are extremely popular in places such as Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. In our country, yams have been steadily rising in popularity over the last few years. Yams are often erroneously labelled as sweet potatoes, but the two have distinct differences that are often ignored. Despite the many differences, there is one important thing that yams and sweet potatoes have in common. They can both be cooked in a myriad of ways. If you are the kind of person who loves to experiment with cooking techniques, then you are going to thoroughly enjoy preparing rustic yam dishes at home. Yams can be grilled, roasted, mashed, smoked, fried, barbecued, grated (for dessert recipes) and even microwaved (although we wouldn’t recommend ruining fresh yams by popping them into the microwave).
General Information on Yams
The skin of the yam is quite rough. Hence, it can be quite difficult to peel the skin off without damaging the succulent flesh inside. By cooking the yams in advance, you can soften the flesh. This makes it easier for people to get rid of the skin. The skin of yams can be anything from light pink to dark brown. The flesh inside can be white, yellow, pink or even purple. Yams can be stored without refrigeration for a whopping 6 months. This makes it one of the most durable vegetables in the world. It also allows the yams to enjoy a very high demand during the wet season when other vegetables become less available. Yams are packed with beta-carotene, fibre, Vitamin A and C, potassium and iron.
Grilled yams are unbelievably delicious. You are not going to know how good they taste unless you have a bite of one. They can be served as replacements for fries, rice and regular potatoes. Grilled yams go really well with grilled chicken or pan seared steaks. To grill yams, you need to get the grill pre-heated to a high temperature. While the grill heats up, peel the yam and slice it up into half inch thick strips. The strips must then be coated in cooking spray and seasoned with pepper and salt. Arrange the strips evenly across the grill and cook them for the better part of 10 minutes. A properly grilled yam should have a very tender texture. Once ready, serve the grilled yams with a tablespoon of butter.
Baking yams requires a different approach, one that is based on the use of an oven. The first order of action is to pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. While it heats up, you can continue with the rest of the prep work. You need to then wash the yams. After you are done washing, you should clean them with a vegetable brush. The next step is to dig holes on the surface all the way through the centre using a knife or a fork. This will allow the steam to escape during baking. Unless you create the holes, the built up steam can cause the yams to explode. Hence, you are advised to never forget this step. Have it written down on a piece of paper near the oven if needed. Once the oven is ready, place the yams on a baking dish and put the dish inside the oven. Keep the yams inside the oven for a minimum of 45 minutes. Once the skin begins to crack and wrinkle, you know that your yams are ready to be taken out. Do not serve the yams immediately. Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving them with a bit of butter and cinnamon.
How to Mash Yams
Mashing a yam is not too different from mashing a potato. To create a bowl of mashed yams, you need five medium sized yams peeled, diced and then boiled until tender. Drain the water away from the vegetables. Start mashing the yams one by one using a teaspoon. While you are at it, season the mashed yams with a teaspoon of cinnamon, a quarter of a teaspoon of nutmeg, a third of a thick slice of butter and half a cup of milk. The milk should go in last because you may not need to use all of it. Also, if the milk gets added too early, it might end up curdling upon contact with the hot yams. To complete the mashing, use a potato masher. This should create a fine, velvety yam mash. Do not worry about the odd lump that pops up here and there.