Monday, July 07, 2008

Y is for Beef and Yam Stew

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I met up with my friend Grace. As Freddie kicked a ball about with her son Delassi, she taught me more about yams. Grace grew up on the south coast of Ghana, her family belonging to the Ewe tribe. By the age of 10 she had learnt how to cook by watching and helping her mother and aunty. Grace explained that yams cook far quicker than potatoes. You can mash them, make yam porridge, deep fry them or chop them up and use them in meat and fish stews. Her advice was to add the diced yams later on in the recipe so that they don't overcook. Back home we made our first Beef and Yam stew, using fresh ginger, garlic and ground cloves. The yams do not have a strong flavour and are better if they can soak up the flavours of meat and spices. Freddie and Alex enjoyed their warm beef stew and they liked the crisp texture of the white yams. Freddie scored the stew 8 out of 10.
Beef and Yam Stew
Serves 4:
500g stewing steak, cubed
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot, finely diced
400g white yam
400g can of tomatoes
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
500g carton of tomato puree or passata
Half a teaspoon of ground clove
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Half a teaspoon of mild chilli powder
25g fresh ginger root, grated
Salt and Pepper to season

Roughly chop the onion and place in a food processor with the 3 garlic cloves, ground cloves, cinnamon, freshly grated ginger. Blend together. In a large pan, heat up two tablespoons of oil and add the cubed stewing steak, browning the meat for 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, garlic, cloves, cinnamon and ginger mixture and stir with the meat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. If the meat is very lean, you may want to add a little more oil into the pan. Add one large carrot, finely chopped with the tomato puree. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, so the sauce reduces. Stir occasionally. Add the can of tomatoes and stir in. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring every now and again. Peel the yam well and rinse it well under water. Cut into small cubes. Add to the pan and stir. Cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with rice or flat bread.
If you can't buy yams, don't despair - try potatoes, sweet potatoes instead...


  1. Anonymous3:20 PM

    Hi: I've been following your vegadventures, and enjoying the journey. Your latest recipe for Beef and Yam Stew: the spices sound so Indian (onion, ginger, garlic and the garam masala spices of cinnamon and cloves, then tomatoes! The only things missing are turmeric and cayenne). Interesting that it's from Ghana; there's more Indian food influences in East rather than West Africa. So glad that Freddie is enjoying the recipes lately; there seems to be nothing below an 8. All best to the finish.

  2. I know - its a really warm combination of flavours and you are right - it feels very Indian as well!

  3. Lindy9:02 PM

    Hi Charlotte,

    I can't believe you are so close to the end of the alphabet..I don't want the journey to end.

    So what's your next A to Z??? Fruit??


  4. Great Big Veg Challenge10:28 AM

    I know - in fact Fruit is still a problem for Freddie - he has a very narrow repertoire and has asked if we could try the same approach with we could go all fruity I suppose!

  5. interesting combination.

  6. These yam recipes are great. I'm living in Tanzania right now and there are yams everwhere but I at a bit lost on how to cook them. I've been inspired by your recipes and can't wait to try them!


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