Isu Epo (Yam with Peppers + Prawns Sauteed in Red Palm Oil )


Unashamedly, I am a Yoruba girl through and through, so little wonder that I get my share of food moments when I just want to eat something really traditional, in the traditional way.

My grandmother on my mother's side often told me about the sorts of food they snacked on....cause in her time the main course usually had to be pounded yam. All other sorts of foods were snacks, something to "hold the tummy" until dinner time.

Yam and palm oil butter is one of such snacks. I remember, how out of curiosity I asked to try the dish which she obliged and honestly, I enjoyed it. The yam was roasted, and the palm oil butter was thick and creamy and it melted all over the hot roasted yam! With a little salt added, the dish was frugal  in presentation but it actually tasted alright...! Ever since that time, I would roast or boil some yam and serve with palm oil butter whenever or if ever I could lay my hands on some.

Red palm oil is actually really healthy and good for you! (read more about red palm oil here). (Also read about Palm Oil Miracle oil?)  It is rich in vitamins A and E and also rich in minerals and essential fatty acids. The oil is made of saturates and unsaturates. The saturates appear solid at room temperature and this is what forms part of what I refer to as palm oil butter. The traditional Epo 'run is the actual butter but that cannot be round readily, at least not in urban towns and cities. So I use regular red palm oil instead.

The traditional recipe for Isu Epo is really simple....yam, palm oil, salt and chili powder. In today's post, I have put my own spin on things. The resulting dish can be enjoyed not just as a snack but as a complete or light meal. Try it.

Boiled Yam and Peppers and Prawns sauteed in Red Palm Oil

What you need
  • Yam (Abuja or Puna varieties)
  • Salt to taste
  • Red palm oil or your preferred cooking oil
  • Handful finely chopped onion
  • Handful finely chopped red and green peppers
  • Teaspoon tomato paste
  • Chili powder (optional)
  • Handful smoked dried king prawns. Remove the head and tail. Wash in clean water and soak in hot water for about 10 minutes before using
  • Chicken stock

What to do
  1. Slice yam and peel off skin, wash yam slices and place in a pot. Add enough water to boil the yam until soft. Add some salt to yam while boiling. 
  2. Once boiled, check by pricking with a fork. Drain excess water and set aside. Alternatively the yam can be roasted in an oven or a microwave oven. 
  3. Simultaneously, in a medium sized pan, add some palm oil and heat  under low to medium heat. Don't overheat the oil as it starts to smoke easily. 
  4. Add the chopped onion, red & green peppers and tomato paste. Also add some chili powder if using. Stir well and add some salt to taste. If available, as about 3 table spoons of chicken stock. If not available, adds some hot water.
  5. Add the smoked prawns and allow all to sizzle together for about 3 minutes or until all ingredients come together and soften to your preference. 
  6. Serve with the boiled or roasted yam

Boiled Yam and Peppers and Prawns sauteed in Red Palm Oil


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