Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria sealed my fate as a foodie. Rich spices, colours, aromas, ingredients and flavours from over 250 Nigerian ethnic groups somehow find their way into this bustling metropolis; mingling unapologetically to provide a sensory experience unlike anywhere else in the world. One popular staple in these parts is the yam. Common to many West African, Asian and Caribbean countries, the yam is a popular root vegetable/tuber which can be boiled, fried, roasted, grilled and mashed just like it’s distant cousin, the potato.

Typically featured on the Lagos party circuit, yam balls are typically served as an appetiser (combined with a spicy pepper dipping sauce). These tasty morsels can also be served as a full meal or as a side dish.

We were inspired by a recipe from fellow food blogger Waakye Leaf, and decided to give it a HDYTI twist by combining it with our love for plantains and seafood. Those on a quest to eat healthy vegetarian and gluten free foods will enjoy this recipe. We hope we inspire you to dip your toes into this one (especially if you’ve never tried making any African dishes).

Spicy-Yam-Balls
Spicy Yam, Plantain and Shrimp Balls
Yum
Print Recipe
Yams look like gigantic potatoes and can usually be found in ethnic food stores or markets outside West Africa. Be sure to ask the vendor to cut the tuber in half so you can spot any defects. This recipe is simply a guide. Feel free to tone it down or jazz it up to your specific tastes.
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 min
Cook Time Passive Time
20 min 10 min
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 min
Cook Time Passive Time
20 min 10 min
Spicy-Yam-Balls
Spicy Yam, Plantain and Shrimp Balls
Yum
Print Recipe
Yams look like gigantic potatoes and can usually be found in ethnic food stores or markets outside West Africa. Be sure to ask the vendor to cut the tuber in half so you can spot any defects. This recipe is simply a guide. Feel free to tone it down or jazz it up to your specific tastes.
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 min
Cook Time Passive Time
20 min 10 min
Servings Prep Time
5 people 30 min
Cook Time Passive Time
20 min 10 min
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water with a tea spoon of salt to boiling temperature.
  2. Get a bowl of tap water close. Note that yam easily discolors if left in the open for too long. Water helps it stay hydrated. Also you will need to rinse 2 or 3 times to remove unwanted residue.
  3. To prepare the yam, place on a flat surface or board, grip firmly and cut it into even 2-inch thick discs (you'll need a strong sharp knife for this part). In circular motions, take each disc in hand and peel off the bark - like skin. Cut each disc into small cubes (2 by 2 inches should do) and immerse into the aforementioned bowl of water until all discs are cut. Wash the cubes thoroughly to remove any residual dirt.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  4. Drain off and place the cubes into the boiling water. Allow to boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until easily pierced by a fork. Once boiled, drain off the water and leave to rest while prep continues.
  5. While the yam is boiling, skin and cut up plantains into cubes.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  6. In a large mixing bowl (or using a food processor), place the boiled yam and plantains and mash into a consistent form.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  7. Add in the coconut oil, sesame seed oil and paprika and work these into the yam mix.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  8. Next add in two egg yolks (save the egg whites for later) and also work this into the mix.
  9. Place the garlic, shrimp, green peas, tomato paste, chilies, spring onions and coriander into a blender and blend into a paste. Add a few tea spoons of water if the paste is too thick.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  10. Finally, pour in the shrimp/vegetable paste and also work this in. Add salt to taste.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  11. Remember the third egg and leftover egg whites from the other two? Whisk that up and set aside.
  12. Set your breadcrumbs close by (self made or pre-packed).
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  13. This last bit will need to be done by hand (a pair of disposable food gloves should make this easier). Pinch the yam mix and take enough in your hand to form a ball. Roll each ball in the egg mix first.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  14. Next roll each ball in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Set aside on a tray to prepare for frying.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  15. Heat up the oil and place the coated balls in the fryer. If using a regular pot, leave for 2 minutes before flipping. Fry for a further 3 minutes. If using a deep fryer, allow the balls to fry for 5 minutes or until they rise to the top. You're looking for a golden to dark brown color as an end product.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
  16. Optionally brush with sesame seed oil and serve on a bed of spinach leaves / rocket leaves with any dipping sauce of your choice.
    Spicy Yam and Plantain balls
Recipe Notes

Spicy Yam and Plantain balls

Spicy Yam and Plantain balls

Spicy Yam and Plantain balls

Yams are very versatile and can be used in many ways. Do you have any other yam ideas or recipes? We would love to hear about them and try them out. If you've tried making yam balls, we'd also love to hear about your experience. Do leave a comment below 🙂

HDYTI Toe rating: 5/5

 

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