Consider the yam: delicious, nutritious, versatile — and so much more than that marshmallow-dotted sugar bomb so many of us associate with Thanksgiving.
Turning pleasantly sweet with just a trace of nuttiness when cooked, yams and sweet potatoes can be baked, roasted, grilled, fried, smoked and mashed. They can be used in soups, salads, desserts and main dishes.
They come in multiple varieties and colors, including some with purple skin. Confusing things mightily, the so-called yams found in supermarkets, particularly the dark-skinned ones with orange interiors, are in fact strains of sweet potatoes, including such types as Goldrush and Georgia Red.
A brief breakdown on the nutritional value of yams: A one cup serving has 177 calories, no fat, no cholesterol and negligible sodium. What it does offer? One-third of your daily potassium needs, a fourth of your dietary fiber, 20 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin B-6 and 42 percent of your vitamin C needs. No wonder that it is cultivated all over the world, from Asia to Africa, and throughout the Americas.
For the record, yams originated in South America, with botanists suspecting that they were first grown in tropical zones within present-day Peru and Ecuador. So stow the marshmallows and savor this recipe.
Thai Yam Salad
2-3 large yams, baked until tender in 350-degree oven, then cubed
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 scallion, sliced thin
½ cup raw or toasted pumpkin seeds, to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 crushed garlic clove
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ soy sauce, to taste
3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
Toss the main ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients together until emulsified and add to the vegetables. Plate the salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve chilled or warm.
This recipe is courtesy of Food.com. Serves 8-10.