Pounded Yam is the one food that is inarguably African. The whole process of preparing it and eating it is representative of the traditional African community life. As the name implies, pounded yam is prepared by…well, pounding yam. A mortar and pestle are used to turn boiled yam into a hardened paste that can roll down the throat easily without chewing. The number of soups that go with pounded yam is legion and whole blogs can be dedicated to them so I’ll leave that bit for another day.
Traditionally, one to about four women can pound yam in the same mortar, depending on the number of people food is being prepared for (and of course, the size of the mortar). In this case, they pound the yam in a soothing rhythm and with a sense of camaraderie. This same sense of camaraderie is felt when the dish is being eaten. The family usually comes together to eat from the same plate using their hands. This is undoubtedly precious family time. The whole preparation and eating process is really intimate, and apart from the lovely enjoyable meal, this is what I love best about the dish.
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