Yam porridge with plantain (asaro Ologede) is a delicious and comforting dish that is easy to prepare, quite nutritious, and filling.
What Is Yam Porridge (Asaro)?
Yam porridge is a simple meal of yam chunks cooked in a pepper sauce with traditional spices, enjoyed across West Africa. It is called "Asaro" in the Western part of Nigeria, "Mpotompoto" in Ghana and "Sese yams" in Cameroon. Yam is one of the most commonly consumed staple food in West Africa. African yam is different to what Americans refer to as yam. If you are not familiar with African yams, please read this post.
This yam porridge and plantain recipe is an adaptation of the traditional Nigerian yam porridge recipe. The sweetness of the plantain works well and balances the savoury taste of the porridge, which is why some people add sugar to their yam porridge. Plantain adds sweet but complex flavours to yam porridge and tastes better than sugar. Once you try it, you will never add sugar to yam porridge again.
How To Cook Yam Porridge With Plantain
Here are the ingredients you need...
- Bell pepper
- Scotch bonnet pepper
- Beef tomato
- Palm Oil
- Ginger powder
- Mild curry powder
A few notes about the ingredients...
- Plantain: You need ripe plantain for this recipe, the sweetness it adds to the dish is what we are after. It is an excellent way to use over-ripe soft plantain.
- Leafy Greens: Add green leafy vegetables to yam porridge to make it more nutritious. I added spinach, but you can substitute it with other leafy greens. If you are using tough greens like ugwu (pumpkin leaves) or kale, add at the same time as the plantain.
- Palm-Oil: Yam porridge is traditionally cooked with palm oil. This is what gives it the signature orange colour, and is how it earned the name “asaro elepo” (yam porridge with palm oil). You can substitute this with your preferred oil.
- Additional Ingredients: My yam porridge recipe was developed to be suitable for vegetarians. Dried fish, smoked fish and crayfish work very well with asaro. Some people add meat or even eggs to their – feel free to add your favourite protein to yours.
How To Make It
Blend one onion with the red bell pepper, scotch bonnet and tomato. Blended peppers, tomatoes and onions form the base of a lot of Nigerian cooking. If you have a freezer, it is best to blend more than you need at once and freeze what is left to be used for other dishes.
Chop the remaining onion.
Cut, peel and wash the yam. This post explains what to look out for when buying yam and how to peel.
Cut into cubes.
Add into a pan with enough water to cover the yam. Add the chopped onions with some salt and cover the pan.
Allow to cook until the yam is soft. This should take no more than 15 mins.
While the yam is cooking, prepare the plantain.
Cut the top and end of the plantain off, then cut into the skin with a knife.
Remove the skin and cut the plantain into big chunks.
When the yam is cooked, reduce the heat to low and tip out some of the water into a bowl. Keep as you may need if porridge is too thick.
Taste the yam and add more salt if required.
Add the plantain, the blended pepper mix, curry powder, ginger and palm oil.
Bring the heat back to medium.
Cover the pan and allow to cook for about 10 mins.
Reduce the heat and mash with a wooden spoon to the consistency you prefer. If it is too thick, you can add some of the liquid you kept aside from boiling the yam.
When you are happy with the consistency, stir in the spinach and cover
Remove from heat and leave for a few minutes so that the spinach can wilt before serving.
This is a matter of preference. If you prefer chunky yam pieces, just mash a little. If you prefer it less chunky and quite mushy like me, mash the yam harder with the wooden spoon or potato mash.
Yam Porridge With Plantain | Asaro Ologede
- Blend one onion with the bell pepper, scotch bonnet and tomato. Keep aside
- Chop the remaining onion.
- Peel the yam and cut into cubes
- Add into a pan with a enough water to cover the yam. Add the chopped onions with some salt and cover the pan.
- Allow to cook until the yam is soft. This should take no more than 15 mins.
- While the yam is cooking, prepare the plantain.
- Cut the top and end of the plantain off, then cut into the skin with a knife.
- Remove the skin and cut the plantain into big chunks.
- When the yam is cooked, reduce the heat to low and tip out some of the water into a bowl. Keep as you may need if porridge is too thick.
- Taste the yam and add more salt if required.
- Add the plantain, the blended pepper mix, curry powder, ginger and palm oil.
- Bring the heat back to medium.
- Cover the pan and allow to cook for about 10 mins.
- Reduce the heat and mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher to the consistency you prefer.
- When you are happy with the consistency, stir in the spinach and cover the pan.
- Remove from heat and leave for a few minutes, so the spinach can wilt before serving.
If you enjoy the sweet and savoury combination of yam porridge with plantain. You might enjoy this plantain pancake.