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Fried Yam
“A recipe fro the kitchen of Blessing”

I was born in the Eastern part of Nigeria in Imo State. In 2007 I moved to the Netherlands at the Muziekwijk in Almere Stad. I now live in Stedewijk.

I am coming from the Igbo people tribe and for us, Yam constitutes one of the most important crops. We eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It makes a great side dish for a meal and can be vegetarian/vegan friendly. I prepare it at home for my family and friends. Some ingredients as the Yam and Plantains I can find in Almere but the rest are at some African stores in Amsterdam.

Every year from August until September we celebrate “The New Yam Festival” also popularly known as “Iwa Ji, Iri Ji, or Ike Ji”. It is a time of celebration and thanksgiving where we express our gratitude to those that helped us with the harvest. The yam crop is not just a harvest, but a symbol of hard work, wealth, and celebration. In festivals, Yam has to be roasted and men and women dance. It is typical that men with masquerades hold distinct attributes. It is said that "yam is food, and food is yam"

The rest of my story I share with you through this Link.
Fried Yam & Plantain with Palm (local red) oil
For 5 people
time 30 minutes


1 tube of Yam
5 pieces of plantain
half a liter of palm (local red) - oil
1 liter of sunflower oil to fried
3 red medium chopped onions
5 chopped pieces of habanero pepper
500 grams of Utazi (gongroenema latifolium)
500 gram of Ugba (ukpaka) frican oil bean seed
1 piece of seasoning cube
salt (for taste)

With washed hands:

  • Peel, slice, and clean the yam. The brown, firm outer surface must be clean and peeled. Because yam is very hard, this is quite difficult. 
  • Slice the Yam and put it in a bowl, add a little salt to taste, and set aside to rest. 
  • The cooking time is about 20 minutes. Prick it with a fork to check if the yam is done.
  • Peel and slice the plantains and put them in a bowl
  • Add a little salt to taste and set aside to rest
  • Frying procedure
  • Put on the fire a dried frying pan and add the sunflower oil.
  • When the oil is hot add the cut pieces of Yam.
  • Turn each piece of Yam so that it browns on both sides. Do not allow them to burn.
  • Remove from oil and drain in a bowl.
  • Do the same procedure with the pieces of plantain.
  • Preparation of the Sauce
  • In a dried pot place the Palm (local red) oil over low heat.
  • When the oil is hot add the Ugba (Ukpaka).
  • Add the salt, finely chopped onion, and peppers until warm.
  • By choice seasoning cube
  • Take out the sauce and put it in a bowl. Add the Utazi.
  • Serve the sauce on top of the Yam and fried Plantains.


Yam is a type of edible tubercultivated in multiple tropical regions. Its consumption is widespread in Africa where is primarily produced in Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast nations. The protein content of yam is high and a source of potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. 

Yam can be boiled, fried, or roasted. It can be served with tasty sauces but is also as desserts. In Nigeria, yam is dried and reduced to a powder that is used to make soups and puddings, while a variety of yams in the Philippines forms the basis of a local sweet called halo-halo. Yam in Japan, on the other hand, is eaten raw and grated. 

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Photos, Interview and Text: Lyla Carrillo Quan - van der Kaaden
Text Revision: Babette Rondón
Fotostudio website: