Andrea RicconeMarch 28, 2002 What About All Those Yams? After all those stories and discussions about yams, I was curious to see what exactly Nigerians eat. As an agricultural society, most of their food comes from farming. They do have meat, but yams are the main food component of their diet. Most Nigerians eat a light breakfast and have their main meal in the late afternoon (Chroness).

For meats, Nigerians have goat, cow, chicken, turkey, geese, guinea fowls, pigeon, fish, shrimp, crab, and other seafood. For fruits and vegetables, they have oranges, bananas, pineapples, tangerines, carrots, watermelons, guava, melons, limes, grape fruits, mangos, apple (tinier than American apples and pink and white in color), peppers, tomatoes, onions, peas, and many other things (Chroness). Yams, coco yams and sweet potatoes are popular in Nigeria. Ah, those yams, also called is. The image we, as Americans, conjure up when we think of yams is not the same as Nigerian yams. These yams can grown up to 7 feet long and weigh approximately 150 pounds.

They have three (3) types of yams: white, yellow, and ^aEUR~water yams^aEURTM (Gourmet). There are numerous ways to prepare and serve this abundant Nigerian food staple. However, they must be cooked, otherwise they are very toxic. Plain boiled yams, either white or yellow, are peeled, sliced up, usually into pieces about 3 centimeters, and boiled in water with salt. It is accompanied with vegetable oil, palm, oil, eggs, beans, and sometimes soup (Gourmet). Another popular meal is a variation of the above using boiled yams requires pounding the yams and forming small smooth balls with the them, it is eaten with vegetables, meat or fish soup.

Nigerians also fry their yams. White or yellow yams are cut up into long thin squares and fried in vegetable oil or palm oil (Lipman). This is usually eaten by itself or occasionally as a side dish. Another dish is. This dish consists of cut up water yams that are fried in vegetable oil or palm oil. This dish is also usually eaten on its own (Recipes).

As aro is white or yellow yams peeled, sliced, and diced into small cubes, then cooked with ground tomatoes, peppers, sometimes meat, other spices, and comes out reddish in color (Recipes). Iko kore is similar to asa ro, but it is made with different yams. Yes, there are different forms of yams! The water yam is softer in texture and, when cooked, it usually comes out a brownish color. I yan (pounded yams) is usually served with soup. This meal is peeled yams that are ground up on a mortar. This powder is then placed into boiling water until it has a thick smooth structure (Gourmet).

The final popular yam dish is a mala. It is made from yams, but first, the yams are ground and dried to form a powder. This powder is then put into boiling water, and stirred and / or beaten until it has a thick smooth structure. The cooked product ends up being very dark brown in color.

It is usually served with soup. Soup, known as one, appears to be another staple of their diet. Obe ate, or pepper soup, appears to be their most popular soup. This soup was mentioned on every single Nigerian food website. Pepper soup is a thick sauce made by boiling ground tomatoes, ground pepper, meat or fish, meat broth or fish broth, onions, vegetable oil or palm oil, and other spices (see recipe on page) (Nigerian). Obe eg usi, plain soup, is made by grinding melon seeds, and then cooking it with the meat and spices.

It usually ends up being yellowish-orange in color (Imoisi). Variations of the above mentioned soups are made by changing the types of leaves used in the preparation. A kara is made from beans (called e wa) that are skinned and ground, then mixed with ground tomatoes and ground peppers and spices, then fried in vegetable or palm oil is made from skinned. It is usually served at breakfast and can been accompanied with akam u^aEUR " or o gi (Imoisi). Akam is dish made from corn. The corn is ground and dried, and made into a powder.

Then this powder is placed in boiling water, and cooked until it has a thin smooth structure. Moy in-mo yin is made of skinned and ground beans mixed with tomatoes, ground peppers, meat, eggs and spices. This mixture is put in banana leaves or aluminum cans and steamed. This dish can be eaten by itself, with rice, or at breakfast with akam u.

Rice, also known as ire si, is another abundant source of food for the Nigerians. They eat it as plain white rice, jolof rice (see recipe) and fried rice. The white rice is simply steamed; while the friend rice is cooked in oils, vegetables, meat, and spices. One of the oils used to cook the rice is palm oil.

Jollof rice is rice cooked (or baked) with ground tomatoes, peppers, sometimes meat and vegetables, other spices, and comes out reddish in color. This oil is a reddish brown and made from ground palm kernels (Lipman). Og edge, or plaint ain, often accompanies rice dishes. It is similar to a banana, just a little bigger. Dodo is sliced or diced plantains, fried in vegetable oil and is served with eggs, rice, beans or by itself (Imoisi). Bol i can be served with the same above-mentioned foods.

It is prepared by baking a whole plantain in the oven. Corn, or maize, is also found in Nigeria. It is served boiled (the corn is still on the cob and boiled in water and salt), roasted (the corn is still on the cob and it is roasted in the oven, or on a grill until it is brown), or ada lu style (the corn is off the cob and boiled with beans). Ad alu rice is usually served with the pepper soup. There are also the styles of tu wu, aa dun, and koko ro. Two corn is ground into a powder, then put in boiling water and stirred / beat until it has a thick smooth texture.

Aad un rice is ground, and mixed with ground red pepper. Then oil is added, and it is put in ewe (green leaves that things can be cooked in) and cooked or baked. It ends up being very spicy in nature (Recipes). Finally, koko ro is ground, then mixed with some ingredients, then rolled into long (about 30 cm) thin (about 1 cm) sticks and fried in vegetable oil. Both aa dun and koko ro are eaten as snacks. Other snacks include: puff puff, chin chin, sausage rolls, and meat pies.

Puff-puffs are made from deep frying a dough mixture into circular balls. It is also sometimes dipped in sugar. Chin chins are kneaded dough that is rolled flat, then cut into small squares, and fried in oil (Imoisi). The sausage rolls are simply cooked sausage that is rolled up in a pastry and baked in an oven (Recipes). The meat pies are seasoned meat, potatoes and other vegetables and placed in a pastry.

It is then baked (Imoisi). Nigerian drinks are now similar to ours due to urbanization. They drink water, soft drinks, tea, fruit drinks, beer and wine. One drink that is something that they can call their own is the palm wine.

It is a drink made from the juices of palm trees (Chrones). This drink was discussed frequently in The Joys of Motherhood and occasionally in passing in Things Fall Apart. However, a large part of Nigeria is in fact Muslim; therefore, Muslim Nigerians do not drink the wine^aEUR " or any alcoholic beverage^aEUR " because they are forbidden tot do so by their religion (Chrones). Just like any other nation or culture, Nigeria has a very diverse diet that is every changing. It may not be identical, or even similar, to our own American diet, but it is changing every day due to urbanization. At least you finally know what they do with all those yams.

RECIPES Pepper Soup (stew or sauce) Serves four to six Ingredients 3 pounds stewing beef (optionally, goat meat or fish) 1 medium onion, chopped or ground in blender 1 teaspoon dried red pepper, crushed or ground fresh red tomatoes, chopped or ground in blender (optionally, one 6 oz can tomato paste) 2 tablespoons cooking oil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon curry powder (optional) 2 Maggi cubes (optional) 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (optional) 1 cup water Equipment stewing pot mortar and pestle, food processor, or or spoon cutting board Preparation 1. Cut up beef (or goat meat) in small pieces and place in stewing pot 2. Combine with water, salt, and onion 3. Boil until meat is tender 4.

Drain 5. Remove meat from pot and save water in a bowl 6. Heat oil in stewing pot, add and brown onion 7. Add meat and ground tomatoes or dilute tomato paste with water and add to meat 8. Add the remaining ingredients one by one, stirring each as added 9.

Simmer for ten minutes and serve with rice Jollof Rice Ingredients 1 litre white rice 1. 5 litre water 2 tomatoes 1 bell pepper 1 onion 250 ml canned tomato sauce 100 ml canned tomato paste 250 ml beef broth 1/4 tsp dried red pepper (cayenne) 2 tsp salt Preparation Boil water and add the rice. Blend the tomatoes, pepper and onion. Add this mixture to the rice after 10-15 minutes.

Add the beef broth, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Add dry red pepper and salt to the boiling rice. Continue to cook until rice is soft. Add more water or beef broth if necessary. Works CitedChrones, Terry Wright. ^aEUR~Africa^aEURTM...

The Global Gourmet ^aEURoeWest Africa: What to Eat^aEUR.