Christmas Lunch - Pounded Yam with Turkey & Prawns Efo Riro

Funke Koleosho's Christmas Lunch
Pounded Yam with Turkey & Prawns Efo Riro

Absolutely no festivities will be complete without pounded yam on the menu. While the women and children tend to go for the various rice dishes like jollof and fried rice, the men and older guests would most certainly request for pounded yam.

Yam being a staple source of carbs in Nigeria, pounding is one of the most common methods of processing it for food. Pounded yam is served with a wide range of vegetable stews and soups, each local region having its own favourites.

Making pounded yam the traditional way is quite an arduous process so different techniques have been applied to simulate the desired look, feel, texture and consistency of this very popular dish. Generally speaking, you can tell the quality of the pounded yam by touching it and comparing the feel/texture with the bottom lobe of your ears...pounded yam must have same/similar feel and texture to be considered good quality!

Back in 2008 I provided details of the different ways you can now make pounded yam in my cook book (Contemporary Nigerian Cuisine). I am pleased to read articles all over the internet on how different methods can be used to make pounded yam. Of all methods, the instant yam poundo (beware though, these products are usually a blend of yam flour, potato flour, potato starch and even ground grains like rice, semolina etc.) is the most popular because of its convenience and accessibility. I do have my concerns about yam poundo and would advocate eating in moderation.

My first option for making pounded yam, especially during this festive period, would be to make your pounded yam with fresh yam. Don't be too worried about the pounding process because you can use a food processor (one with power capacity of 750 watts or above). It does the job perfectly especially if you use the right yam variety (I always use puna yam). Making pounded yam this way yields healthy, preservatives and chemical free food.

Enough said, its Christmas, so you should treat your friends and family to a wholesome sumptuous meal cooked with love and care. So as your second Christmas meal option, try out my Pounded Yam served with Jumbo Prawns and Turkey Efo Riro.

Pounded Yam with Turkey & Prawns Efo Riro

What you need (quantities not specified to allow you adjust recipe to your preference)
  • Broad leaf spinach (you can use tete or soko (amaranth) leaves as well)
  • Puna yam
  • Fresh turkey (not frozen)
  • Raw jumbo prawns
  • Tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • Scotch bonnet
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Ground crayfish
  • Onions
  • Locust beans
  • Palm oil
  • Molli's Jollof Cooking sauce (a really useful cheat ingredient. Suitable for use as an alternative for your red pepper sauce).
What to do

To cook the turkey:
  1. Chop the turkey into small bite size pieces. Lovingly remove all the bones, so your friends and family can derive maximum enjoyment from this dish! You don't have to use the entire turkey for this recipe. the best parts to use are the thigh, wings and back of the bird. You can also use the breast but keep the skin on! 
  2. Wash turkey pieces in cold fresh water and transfer into a large bowl or pot. 
  3. Season turkey pieces with your spices (fresh thyme, curry, bouillon cube, nutmeg pimentos, crushed garlic, crushed ginger, salt, add any other of your preferred spices). 
  4. Work all spices into the meat and marinate for at least 24 hours. 
  5. Transfer the turkey piece into a large stock pot and add just enough water to cover 2/3 of the meat. Not a lot. 
  6. Cover the pot tight and allow meat to cook for about 10 minutes under high heat. 
  7. With  a large wooden spoon, stir the turkey pieces and check for firmness. At this stage you do not want to overcook the turkey. Turn the heat down and cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on the size of your meat pieces. 
  8. Then turn off the heat, slightly open the cover of the pot and set meat aside. Allow the turkey to sit in its juices for as long as you can allow. The longer the better as it allows the meat to soak up flavours. 
  9. Then drain off the stock (for later use) and set the meat on a baking tray. Grill turkey in a hot oven for about 15 minutes or until its start to turn golden brown. Don't worry about the turkey drying out. It will become juicy again in the last step. Set grilled turkey aside for later use. 

To make the efo riro:
  1. Pick and thoroughly wash the spinach leaves to rid them of sand and other particles. Then blanch in hot salted water for no more than 2 minutes. Immediately strain off the spinach leaves and run cold water over them. Then squeeze excess water off the leaves and shred them finely. Then set aside.
  2. Coarsely blend onion, tomatoes, scotch bonnet (if using) and locust beans. 
  3. Heat palm oil in a large pot and add blend. Then add some stock and stir. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes (this will depend of course on the quantity of your blend. The larger the quantity, the more time required). 
  4. Add some ground crayfish and stir in. Check for salt.Allow to cook for a further 10 minutes then add the grilled turkey pieces. 
  5. Add the shelled and de-veined jumbo prawns. Stir well. 
  6. Finally add the spinach. A little at a time to avoid adding too much and making your soup too dry. Adjust taste and consistency by adding more stock if required. Stir well and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes. Its ready!

To make the pounded
  1. Peel the yam and cut into large slices or chunks. Wash well in fresh clean water and boil with no salt or other spices added. Cooking should take about 10 minutes depending on teh size of your slices. 
  2. Run a knife through yams to determine if they are cooked. When cooked, transfer yam to a food processor. (I have used the Moulinex Ovatio 3 for years....not sure if this model is still available but there are equally good alternative on the market. ensure you get one with at least 750 wattage to avoid burning the motor of the equipment). 
  3. Process the yam in the food processor selecting the tools/option best for kneading. Add some hot water to the now kneaded yam to adjust consistency. 
  4. (TIP) Pounded yam made this way turns out very hot so should be served and consumed immediately. This is because if not enough water is added, it may turn quite hard when cool. If you will not be serving straight away, add a generous amount of hot water to the pounded yam to make it soft and then wrap in cling film/food bags until needed. This way it can be re-heated in the microwave before serving.
  5. Serve pounded yam hot with your delicious turkey and prawns efo-riro.
  6. Enjoy!

Pounded Yam with Turkey & Prawns Efo Riro



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