Yam and cassava prices are shooting through the roof in Ghana. My Mom came home one day holding a tuber of yam and she asked me to guess how much it cost. My reply was an estimate between 7 and 8 cedis. Nope, you are wrong. It cost GHC 13 she corrected. I almost fell off the chair. Yekpa! Cassava costs about three cedis for a few tubers as well.
This is a time to make creative use of leftovers and not chuck them into the bin. Rice, yam, banku etc can all be reused as another meal when stored properly for later use.
Yam Balls or for a better fancier word Yam Croquette is a great example of a snack which can be made from leftover boiled yam. I have always known yam balls as an hors d’œuvre at weddings, funerals and other social events I may have reluctantly attended. But eating five pieces of those brown little balls is enough to fill you for some hours.
It’s only recently that I realised how dry these yam balls are. No filling within the dry crumbly centre, just another carb-based snack. It's about time we change that.
It’s an easy snack to prepare at home or when expecting guests after Sunday Church service. Thankfully my Auntie Aggie was home to give me some tips which you will find useful when trying your hands at this yummilicious snack. Oh by the way, I gave it a bit of twist with duck sausage. *wink wink*
6 full slices of yam
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of seasoned or plain flour
3 large eggs
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon margarine
1 cup of diced duck or chicken sausage
1 tablespoonful of milk
( My sincere apologies for not having enough photos for the directions. Thanks to Dumsor my kitchen was shrouded in an unattractive shade of grey. The final product got lucky though as i went out to catch the last sinking sun rays.
Serves three adults who are just looking for something to nibble on.
- Pour six cups of water into a saucepan on fire. Add salt and let boil. Add sliced yam to boiling water. Cook yam for 5 mins.
2. After 5 mins, pour out the rest of water from the boiled yam and use a masher or fork to mash up the yam.
3. Add the one tablespoonful of milk and margarine to the mashed yam. This will ensure that the yam doesn't stick together. *tip from Auntie*
4. Set mashed yam aside to cool down. This is an important step to prevent anything you add to it from being cooked - eggs in this case- don't miss this step.
5.Crack eggs into a bowl and separate yolk from white. You can easily do this by running a tablespoon under the tap to scoop out the yolk.
6. Beat egg yolk and whites separately in two separate bowls.
7. Once yam has cooled to room temperature ( zero heat) , pour in egg yolk and the milk. The egg yolk and milk are the binding ingredients here. Mix well with hands to ensure consistency.
8. You can tell that the yam has a good bind when you can form it into a ball easily and it doesn't fall apart.
9. To make the yam ball; scoop a spoonful into your palm and using your thumb make an indent in the middle. Place a piece of the sausage in the ‘hole' and seal up to cover the sausage.
10. Roll the ball on a flat surface and roll around in your palm loosely. The flat surface gives the ball a smoother finish.
11.Drop the ball in the flour to coat it lightly. Doing this protects the yam surface from the breadcrumbs for a smoother finish.
12. Next drop the ball in the beaten egg white which you set aside previously.
13. Use a perforated spoon to scoop out the yam ball.
14. Drop it next into the breadcrumbs.
15. Just follow the steps: Flour, egg white and breadcrumbs. Do this and you will be fine. I promise.
16. Test fry one ball to check the bonding of the yam. If the test sample disintegrates into the oil, add a bit of milk to the rest of the un-balled yam.
17. After completing the balls, deep-fry in coconut or olive oil over medium-heat. The colour should be golden-brown as a golden rule.
Splendid and delicious! Even my Auntie gave me 99.8% and that grade coming from the former Head of Hospitality at Accra & Koforidua Polytechnic was humbling! The seasoned flour and breadcrumbs worked really well together and of course the yam ball not disintegrating into the oil was a big PLUS! The disintegration would only come in if the binding doesn't work well. The duck sausage was a delicious surprise to all the eaters - Theirry, David, Edem, Shereena and Seyram I am looking at you guys!