Yam roast (Senaikizhangu and Karunaikizhangu in Tamil) would kindle anybody’s appetite and it goes as an excellent accompaniment with all the three courses of South Indian meal like Sambhar, Rasam and Curd Rice, as yam does not become mushy quickly and also retains its form; hence it is one of the suitable vegetables used for Avial or Vegetable Stew. But the most endearing dish with Yam is Yam roast only
Making yam is very easy… One needs to clean the dirt on the peel by showing it under water, slice off the rough peel, wash again to get rid of the dirt and cut into slices.
Coat the slices with a masala mix of turmeric, chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, flour, salt and shallow fry them. I am sure you would have sensed a bungling in the procedure?
Just treat yam like any other vegetable, you would end up with an itchy tongue and yes it is an annoying itchy feeling and it gives one a prickling sensation.
However you would have observed your grandmother taming the yam by cutting the yam into slices and soaking them in tamarind extract or buttermilk. Keep them aside for an hour and then rinse the slices in water and continue with the rest of the preparation steps. We are trying to neutralize the fine calcium oxalate crystals (raphides) in the tuber with an acid solution.
But if you have skipped the taming process here are some of the tips which one can also follow :
The Yam peels contains calcium oxalate / saponins juice when comes in contact with the skin starts to itch. This is known as Contact Dermatitis. It causes redness and itching for some time and is irritating. Here are few tips that can be used to avoid the itchiness.
- Firstly before you peel the yam, make sure you don’t wash them, because when you wash them the juice will flow in while cutting and cause itchiness. Thus do not wash them.
- You can use a rubber gloves while cutting them.
- Apply Coconut oil in your hands before cutting.
- Baking the yam helps to peel the skin faster.
By mistake if the juice falls in your hands, you can apply the red palm oil or peppermint oil immediately to stop the itching.
HOW TO COOK THEM
Once the major part of peeling the skin is over then, cut them into small cubes or blocks and immerse them in salt water along with turmeric and to be kept apart for half an hour. Yam has to be soaked in water immediately else they tend to discolour due to oxidation. This step is very important because yam contains calcium oxalate crystals which when consumed causes itchiness on tongue. This process of soaking the yam is called neutralizing.
In Olden day’s people also use to soak yam in tarmind water or buttermilk to remove the toxins. Yam can be cooked in many ways like boiling them, roasting and frying.
In Africa and Asia people just boil the yam. In this method after the peeling the whitish starchy flesh is cut into cubes and boiled in water along with salt. The older the yam the smaller the it has to be cut, as it takes a lot of time to get cooked. These boiled yams are consumed as it is or else used in curries by Asians. Another method prepared by them is drying. In this the yam is cut into small cubes and dried under sun, then powered. This yam powder is then used in their soups.
Indians prepare the vegetable by frying them along with spices. They are also used in curries. In Japan they use yam in the grated from in noodles, they use vinegar to treat the toxins of yam.
The yam is also cut in strips and roasted with salt and pepper and consumed like chips. In European countries they use yam in desserts as well.