Over the past few years, scientists have continued to seek for ways to make life easier for the Nigerian who loves pounded yam but loathes the stress involved in making this highly delectable Nigerian meal. This adventure has been indeed successful with the discovery of different machines and alternative pounded yam known as poundo yam.
The commercial grinding mill is one machine that is known to do the job of milling yam just fine. But, the size of this machine like its name implies, makes it unsuitable for home meals for less than 10 persons. Aside from this commercial machine, another popular machine that is used for pounding yam is the yam pounder which can seem expensive based on its single functionality. To minimize cost while having a multi-purpose machine that can pound yam, there is the third machine, food processor which I am going to describe in this post. Before we talk about this machine, we should address some important questions about pounded yam and why it is so loved by Nigerians.
Why is pounded yam the people’s favorite?
If asked the question of why pounded yam is loved, my spontaneous answer would be, “I don’t know”. Ordinarily, pounded yam should be a meal far from love. I mean, if you were born before 2000 like me, your childhood experience of pounded yam was probably one that involves the stressful exercise of pounding yam in some wooden mortar by continuously lifting a wooden pestle up and down to hit the yam until a fine malleable white food is obtained. To make matters worse, if you are from the SouthWestern state, Ekiti, you have had to get up as early as 6 am to engage in this daunting exercise just because of some long-existing culture. With this stressful and almost traumatizing experience, you would wonder why anyone would love pounded yam.
When I asked my uncle the why question, and here is his response,
“pounded yam is a great meal that is known for its relevance during celebrations and festive periods. Its neatness makes it a palatable meal to serve guests, unlike other Nigerian solids. It is also a well-preferred dish because of the well-suited accompaniments and local soups that go with it. In the villages, pounded yam is often enjoyed with bush meats such as grasscutters because the food makes these kinds of meat most enjoyable.” When asked why these local soups and bushmeat cannot be enjoyed with other solids, he said, “these other solids such as amala are best enjoyed with slimy soups such as ewedu and an attempt to eat a big chunk of meat in a draw soup can be messy.”
When my aunt was asked, she said she loves the taste of pounded yam however could not describe this taste.
For me, I think it would be futile to go through so much stress and not crave the end product. Many SouthWestern Nigerian children never chose to be involved with pounded yam, the elders around just got them into the process and if you were involved in this tedious process of pounding yam, you would want to be a part of the meal even if it is just to compensate for your invested energy.
Also, there is something unique about the texture and taste of pounded yam. It carries on the taste of its raw material, yam. If you taste yam/plantain amala or semo which is made from corn, you would find it difficult to find the taste of their raw products in them. However, with pounded yam, you can still feel the sweet taste of yam.
Where did pounded yam originate from?
I did a little research about this question but could not get a cogent answer about the particular state where pounded yam originated. However, yam and pounded yam date to as far back as the pre-modernization of many ethnic groups in West Africa.
Is pounded yam healthy?
In its original form which is the form that involves pounding of yam by some machine, pounded yam is healthy. Yam is harvested at maturity, boiled till soft and edible. According to Ezeocha V. C. and Ojimelukwe P. C., the cooking process of yam before pounding also reduces the phytochemical content of yam by cutting down the percentage availability of chemicals such as Saponins, tannins, flavonoids, and alkaloids which could cause gastrointestinal upset and neurological disorders when consumed in excess. Pounded yam is rich in carbohydrates, some protein, and a little fat.
Pounded yam’s health benefits are best enjoyed when the food is consumed during the day and in minimal quantity which is quickly digested. This is because the solidness of the food makes it heavy and if consumed in excess can cause the body to fall into a sleep mode while breakdown is ongoing.
Does pounded yam make you fat?
The basic truth is that any food that contains a good amount of calories can make you fat if consumed in excess. This is another reason why you should consume pounded yam in minimal quantity. When the plenty of carbohydrates present in pounded yam breaks down, it gets converted to starch causing blood sugar to rise, causing glucose to turn into fat.
How to make pounded yam without mortar
The current reality of many Nigerian homes particularly the ones in villages is that without mortar and pestle, there is no pounded yam. There is also a mentality even among city dwellers that only mortar and pestle can make pounded yam in its best form. This is quite laughable and is only true for people who have never used a food processor to pound yam.
How to Prepare Pounded Yam with Food Processor
- Water for boiling
- Peel the yam and cut into cubes.
- Wash and put inside a pot for boiling.
- Fill the pot with water just to the level of the yams, not more than the yams.
- Set the yam to cook on medium-high heat for 20-25minutes. Then, check the doneness and once ready, reduce heat level to very low just enough to maintain the warmth of yam.
- While the yam is cooking, wash, set appropriately and prepare your food processor.
- While the yam remains on low heat, put just as much yam to fill 4/5 of the bowl of the processor. Don't fill to the brim.
- Put the power on and turn control switch to highest. Run the machine intermittently for about 5 minutes to have a finely pounded yam.
- Carefully scrape out the pounded yam and serve as desired.
The food processor which is also known as yam pounder does an appreciably great job in providing one of the most difficult Nigerian meals to prepare. It does not only pound the yam but does so within a shorter time range compared to when mortar is used. Above all, it makes the meal more enjoyable for consumers. The machine is quite easy to operate and does not require special schooling.
The downside with the food processor is, for a middle-class individual who doesn’t engage in numerous cooking activities, does not subscribe to having high-grade kitchen gadgets and eats pounded yam only once in a year, the cost of this machine might make it seem like a luxury.
But, if you are the kitchen bird who always looks forward to something new in the kitchen, this gadget is good for you. In my home, we do not regard the machine as yam pounder, it is simply a food processor because the pounding of yam is just another one of the numerous tasks that it accomplishes effortlessly. The food processor can be used for milling or slicing vegetables, grounding meat, mixing dough, and even making ice-cream.