12 April 2017
Yoruba people are arguably the most unique tribe among the three major tribes in Nigeria. This uniqueness is largely because of their ways of doing things which are usually cultural and traditional.
Yoruba people have customs for almost everything such as marriage (Asa Igbeyawo), Naming Ceremony (Asa Isomoloruko), Burial (Asa Isinku), Music, Dancing, Folksongs, Storytelling, including eating.
And from eating, various foods has its own praise song, this can be for the reason of the multi diverse way a particular food can be transformed. And yam is one of these wonderful Yoruba foods.
If you are a Yoruba native and all you have at home is yam, then you shouldn’t abhor the worry of eating only one particular food for a month. Reason being that you can make more than 5 different foods from yam.
Before delving into such analysis, let’s look into the various yams recognized by the Yorubas…
We have ‘ako isu’ which literally can mean (male yam). This symbolize how strong the yam is. There are also various types of ‘ako isu’ such as Aalo (usually yellowish), teteregun et al.
We also have the ‘abo isu’ (usually called isu ewura) and this is the watery yam. This yam can’t be used to make pounded yam because of its nature. However, wonderful foods can be made out of it.
The third is ‘esuru’ (aerial yam) which can only be boiled and is slightly bitter on tongue but edible anyway.
Other tubers recognized as yam in the Yoruba parlance are ‘odunkun’ (potatoes) which can be likened to ‘ewura’ in its usefulness and ‘koko’ (cocoyam) which is likened to the ‘ako isu’ as it can be used for pounded yam.
Now, let’s delve into the usage;
1) Isu Sise (Boiled Yam):
You can boil any of the above yams and spice up a chilly to help slip it down to your bowel.
2) Asaro (Porridge):
This is slicing the yam into small particles and adding water to boil it. When it’s boiled, you add pepper, palm oil, salt and other ingredients to help give it a wonderful taste. You can add fish and prawn to it. And finally, you’ll be punching it with turning stick to give it a smoothened look. You don’t have to break all the yams but most of it should be mashed.
Note that Ewura is not good for porridge. The ewura form that is close to this is called Ifokore (yam pudding).
3) Ifokore (Yam Pudding):
Ifokore is made with Isu Ewura. After peeling the yam, you grate/mash it and keep it in a bowl. Boil some water, add all the needed ingredients to the water including prawn or sliced fish. When the water is boiled, you’ll be adding the grated yam to it bit by bit. After about 30 minutes, your Ifokore will be done.
The people of Ijebu, Ijebu Epe and Ikorodu often enjoy taking it with Eba.
4) Dundun (Fried Yam):
This is slicing the yam, often to a slim shape like the Asparagus or carrot. Then put palm oil or groundnut oil on fire to fry the yam. It is best served with stew.
Ojojo is simply a fried “grated ewura”. The taste of Ojojo is superb that you can finish it in the kitchen. For clarity, grate your ewura like you did when preparing Ifokore and add all the sauces and ingredients to the grated ewura including salt, pepper and fish, if you wish. Then put palm oil or groundnut oil on fire to fry the grated yam. The scent alone is enough to fill you to brim.
Yam can actually give birth to more food than this if we visitdig deep into the Yoruba rural localities.
Do you have more to add? Maybe from tribe’s different from the Yoruba tribe, Kindly drop it in the comment box below.