Yam Fries

In the US, the term “yam” is often used to refer to sweet potatoes (e.g. the garnet yam), but true yams include the African white yam and Jamaican black yam (name negro). I found the latter at a local supermarket, where I had also found yuca earlier in the month. I had tried yuca fries at a restaurant years ago, and was able to easily reproduce these starchy, crispy fries at home.

I had no idea how to cook the black yam. Some online searching, many recipes suggested boiling, but that seemed so un-American. With Independence Day rapidly approaching, a more patriotic (and kid-friendly) approach was to take the national approach to tubers: fries. After peeling the yam (I’m told yam skin is not edible), I cut it into fry-size batons and gave them a quick (roughly 5 minute) boil in salted water. I let them strain in a colander and they quickly dried out. I heated some peanut oil to 350 °F and deep-fried them for about 5 minutes. They didn’t darken as quickly as potatoes (presumably due to a lower sugar content), but crisped up quite well.

How did they taste? The texture was great. They remained firm and crispy with a starchy interior, but the flavor wasn’t on par with potato fries. They were reminiscent of yuca fries and seemed drier than their potato cousins (in contrast to sweet potato fries, which are often so moist they require some sort of coating to retain crispiness).

They say making mistakes is the first step in learning. I must be learning a lot.

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