Friday, October 29, 2010

Yam and Hot Pepper

Another very popular Ghanaian street food. This is very delicious and easy to make, provided you find the right yam. In America, the sweet potato is called the yam -  this is not the yam we seek. A true yam looks like this or this .

Yam and red pepper ( pronounced peppe ) brings so many found memories for me. I remember outside my dad's office sat a yam seller who made the best fried yam and peppe. The yam would be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. As for the peppe it was a wonder we did not breathe fire out at every exhale. Our eyes would be red and watery our noses would be runny, our tongues would be on fire but nothing could stop us till we finished the last piece. My mom also use to make it for 'small chop' ( aka appetizer/starter ) sometimes. Ahh, how I miss small chop !

I have tried to re-create this here, far away from Ghana. Luckily I found some yam in our local Asian grocery. I could not believe my eyes. I did a little dance in the store much to my husband's amazement. He later said he has never met anyone who gets so excited at seeing food produce.And then in the next isle I find these peppers called 'jamaican pepper' or Scotch Bonnets, which looked just like the pepper in Ghana. I just couldn't wait to get home and make me some yam and peppe. Serve the yam hot as they taste best when hot.

This recipe is amazing, especially the peppe. I found this interesting article on Wikipedia  that I thought I would share here, "It is common for people to experience pleasurable and even euphoriant effects from eating capsaicin-flavored foods. Folklore among self-described "chiliheads" attributes this to pain-stimulated release of endorphins..." So I say 'Say no to drugs and yes to capsaicin'.

I have also read somewhere that red peppers also helps with weight loss.... one more reason to enjoy it.

Yam and Peppe

Serves 2-3


1 medium sized yam tuber
oil for frying

For the Red Pepper
3 red scotch bonnet peppers / Jamaican peppers
1 tomato
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
salt to taste
a pinch of sugar ( just a pinch helps bring out the other flavors )

The Scotch Bonnet or Jamaican pepper.

  • Put all the ingredients of the red pepper in a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Do not add any water during blending. Check for seasoning and set aside in a bowl.
  • Meanwhile heat some oil in a wok / deep fryer to medium (  setting 4-5, this setting is for my electric stove ). You want to fry this for a long time on medium to medium low heat so as to cook the yam all the way through.
  • Peel the outer thick skin of the yam and wash it. Now cut it up either in thin strips or thick strips ( about 4 inches long ), this depends on how you like it. I like mine to be thick.
  • Soak these pieces in salted water till the oil get hots.
  • Once the oil is hot, drain the yam pieces and pat them dry on an absorbent paper towel ( make sure they are dry, as water and oil do not go well with each other ). Fry a couple of pieces at a time , do not over crowd the wok
  • You will know it is done when the pieces float to the top and are surrounded by big bubble spluttering loudly. The pieces will turn from white to pale golden color. Remove from the hot oil and drain on an absorbent paper towel. Sprinkle the cooked pieces with some salt.
  • Serve hot with the red pepper and enjoy the 'pepper high' that follows.
Note:  This red peppe should be made fresh and consumed fresh too, preferably. Though I have stored it in the fridge for up to three days . If however you want to store your peppe longer; fry it in 1 tbsp oil and let its water evaporate and the peppe thicken, that way you can store this in your refrigerator much longer. ( Note: the remaining red peppe mixed with a bowl with white rice, is a great way to use up any extra peppe ).


1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    It looks delicious. In Venezuela is like "├▒ame" frito con salsa de "aji picante". I will look for the ingredients...
    Maria ; )