Vegetable of the month: Yam

Yam is a large tuberous starchy root eaten as a staple food. Yams are perennial herbaceous vines. They are cultivated for consumption in many temperate and tropical regions like Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania. They come in different forms owing to the number of cultivars and related species.

Yams are imported into the Gambia from Nigeria, Ghana and other eastern parts of Africa. Yam is commonly used among Nigerians and Ghanaians based in The Gambia, but Gambians also love and prepare dishes out of Yam. 

There are many Yam dishes prepared in the Gambia that can spark your appetite, and they can be available in local Nigerian restaurants. Yam and egg sauce, Yamarita, and Pounded Yam are the most famous dishes used in preparing yams. Pounded jam or jam fufu is a simple side dish prepared by boiling jams, which are later peeled and mashed, beaten and stirred with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. After that, fofu is shaped into balls and served with a favourite type of stew or sauce.

Yam is rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. It is easy to add to a diet. It improves digestive health. Some studies showed that yam extracts reduced food intake, suggesting that these tubers may reduce appetite and enhance weight loss. It is known for improving cholesterol levels. 

In the Gambia, you can get Yam at Serekunda market and other vegetable vendors on the street. They are sold per piece, which usually weights from 2.5 to 5 kg. A kilo cost D200. If you are looking forward to trying another cousin of potato, you are welcome to do that in The Gambia. 

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