Every winter, I fall into a vegetable rut. At lunch time you can find me eating the same salad with the same vegetables and I can promise you that there are only so many ways to prepare root vegetables until you are just plain sick of them!
I have no clue as to why I do this to myself every year, but came up with a few theories. First off, there is nothing else in season. All the other vegetables are better traveled than me or looking past their prime. Second, I’m human and falling into a rut is what we do.
Itching to try something different, I stumbled upon white yams last week. Sure I’ve had yams before and certainly more than my fair share of sweet potatoes, but never white yams. Instantly, I had a million questions – what favors should I use, how are they traditionally prepared, and why hadn’t I seen or eaten one before?
After a few minutes of researching, everything I thought I’d once known about yams flew out the window. First off, they are not sweet potatoes. Not even a distance weird second cousin that only shows up every on mandatory family reunions. They are completely different tubers.
White yams were traditionally cultivated in Northern Africa and are still a valued vegetable there. They provide a tremendous amount of nutrition, grow abundantly, and can be stored for longer periods of time without the means of a fridge. The most interesting thing that I found is that they are actually sweeter than sweet potatoes.
Following the traditional route, I used a Moroccan inspired seasoning. And after and thinly slicing the white yams, I roasted them for about 20 minutes. In the end, this was just the flavor kick my palate was craving and quickly had me remembering my time in Egypt. A quick warning though – the aroma from the spices is intense and stuck around for a few days!
Roasted White Yams with Moroccan Spices
You will need:
~ 4 white yams
~ Olive Oil
Moroccan Seasonings adapted from Epicurious
~ 1 tsp cumin
~ 1 tsp ginger
~ 1 tsp kosher salt
~ ¾ tsp black pepper
~ ½ tsp cinnamon
~ ½ tsp coriander
~ ½ tsp cayenne
~ ½ tsp ground allspice
~ ¼ tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix spices together.
Thinly slice white yams (about 1/8 of an inch). Transfer white yams to a bowl and evenly coat with olive oil. Spread yams on a baking dish making sure that each is evenly spread on the pan (use two pans if needed). Sprinkle Moroccan seasonings on white yams evenly.
Roast for 20 minutes, flipping half way through. Enjoy!