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Asaro (Yam Porridge)

May 3, 2010 | 57 Comments

Asaro, also known as Ebe (pronounced eh-beh) is a Nigerian dish native to the Yorubas. I’m not exactly sure what region it originated from, but I do know it’s a traditional Yoruba dish. It is very similar to Ikokore, in the sense that its yam cooked in a mix of blended peppers. The only difference is that Ikokore uses water yam while Asaro uses regular yam.

It’s a one pot meal and doesn’t take too long to prepare.

To make Asaro, here’s what you’ll need:

1 m tuber of yam
1 large red bell pepper
1 m red onion
2 cloves garlic
Ginger (same size as 2 garlic cloves)
3 plum tomatoes (or 1 m/l regular tomato)
3 scotch bonnet peppers
Handful kpanla or stock fish (boil to soften)
1 tbsp Adobo seasoning
1 tsbp Curry powder
2 knorr cubes
2 bay leaves
3-4 cups water
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup Palm oil

1. Rinse tuber of yam to rid it of dirt, sand etc. Cut into thick rounds.

2. Peel off outer skin.

3. Cut out any dark areas in the yam (like the areas above the knife in above pic: use tip of knife to do this). Cut each round into cubes (first cut in half, then cut each half into another half etc). Add cold water to a large bowl and rinse yam cubes. Drain and add more clean, cold water. Add cubed yam into cold water (to prevent yam from changing color).

4. Set aside for a few minutes (I refrigerated it).

5. Heat pot over medium heat. Cut and blend red bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, garlic and ginger. Add 3-4 cups water to blended mix. Add Canola and palm oil to pot. Add blended peppers etc. Cover and let boil over medium heat for 10 minutes.

6. Add seasonings (knorr, curry, adobo, bay leaves). Stir, let boil for 5 minutes still over medium heat. Add cubed yam (careful, so pepper doesn’t splash; reduce heat if necessary). Drain kpanla (if soaked in water) and add to boiling pepper.

(If you reduced heat, turn it back up to medium.)

7. Stir and let cook for 20-25 minutes or till yam is fork tender. Once soft, use a potato masher to mash, back of a serving spoon or a fork. *Mash and stir – I like some yam chunks, so I didn’t mash everything*

8. Turn off heat. Voila!

Serve while hot with meat of your choice.

*I plated it with goat meat and chicken*

Conversely, instead of cutting up the yam first, you could cut and boil the pepper first, and while that is boiling, start on the yam. Totally up to you of course, either way works just fine. If 3 scotch bonnet peppers is just too much (or three much, haha!) just use 1 0r 2, all depending on how much heat you can handle.

It’s a refreshing departure from eating rice (or whatever) all the time. I prefer to store this in a bowl as opposed to keeping leftovers in the pot in the fridge. That way, you can microwave however much you need (or all of it) without having to add water which might alter the texture and taste.

You can also add your cooked meat to the pot along with the yam and kpanla if you prefer. Once you make it the first time, you can alter the recipe to your preferences the next go round.

Here’s a video tutorial of a really adorable older lady making Asaro!

Enjoy…

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Rating: 7.3/10 (46 votes cast)
Asaro (Yam Porridge), 7.3 out of 10 based on 46 ratings

57 Responses to "Asaro (Yam Porridge)"

  1. Justjoxy says:

    Made mine on Saturday, turned out well, I put a couple of pics up….Thanks.

    • Yetunde says:

      hey lady! looks good, great idea to add the spinach into it, loves it!

  2. Melissa says:

    I am American black. I really appreciate you posting all of these delicious Nigerian recipes.. I am a cook, and love to cook authentic, foods from different cultures. For my family. I have a question. I would love to try to make “Asaro”.. But, here in the states. I am not sure. I have seen a yam/tuber. As pictured. Is there something, within the states. Which closely resembles. The yam/tuber used in Asaro. Thank you very much, in advance.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hi Melissa!

      Gosh, it’s hard for me to recommend something else in place of yams, because you won’t get the same results. For instance, I could recommend using sweet potatoes, but potatoes, once cooked, are much softer than cooked yam, so it will be very different.

      What I can recommend is for you to see if you have any African/Mexican specialty grocery stores around you as they most likely will have yam tubers as in the photo. If you *really* want to make it, here is a link to a U.K store that sells it and you can have it shipped overnight or something http://www.africarr.com/store/Yam_tuber?keyword=yam. I can almost guarantee that if you do a little search, you’ll find an African/Mexican/Caribbean store that will have it.

      You’re very welcome! :) If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

    • toni says:

      mellisa u can get the same yam used in this recipe in any african grocery store near u.

  3. Addy says:

    Thank you for this posting

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Addy!

      You’re welcome :)

  4. Sam says:

    I tried another today n it was wow!.u re the BESTEST cook tutor

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Sam!

      Lol, you’re on a roll with trying the recipes, I love it! I’m glad they’re working out for you :)

      Thank you!!

  5. Yvonne says:

    Thank God i stumbled upon this website. My husbands fav food is yam porridge and for the life of me, i couldnt figure out how to cook it. So today, i googled yam porridge and your website came up. I am very impressed with the time you have taken to write detailed info on the Nigerian recipes. Please continue doing this..because you gained a new fan in me today. I will surely be on this site every other day :-)

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Yvonne!

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you’re enjoying the site and recipes :)

      Let me know how the yam porridge goes when you make it. If you have questions on any of the recipes, don’t hesitate to ask!

      Yay for new readers! Welcome to our community!!

  6. Sofiya says:

    I commend you. i am really impressed with your website-I am a Nigerian born and raised in States but came to Nigeria over a year to ago to experience ‘home’ and well……. “when in Nigeria do like the Nigerian” (women…cook OUR native food)–LOL–more grease to your elbows oooo….do you have any recipe on Ofada stew?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Sofiya!

      Thank you so much, I really do appreciate the kind words. Lol @ the saying, oh well, what can I say, other non-Nigerian dishes probably won’t go down too well, so hey, it is what it is, lol…

      I have so many recipes in my queue, but I will add Ofada to it and hopefully, get to it sometime in the next month.

  7. Rita says:

    Please i will like to know the diff between chili pepper,scotch bonnet pepper and bell pepper

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Rita!

      The last two peppers mentioned are a form of chili peppers. Bell peppers have no heat level to them and you can eat them raw without it burning your mouth, but scotch bonnet peppers and habanero (another form of chili pepper) are hotter and are what Nigerians (most Africans) use in cooking.

      Bell peppers are larger and often come in either red, yellow or green colors, think of a large flat nose. Chili peppers are longer and thinner, scotch bonnet and habanero peppers are smaller often orange, yellow, green or red and are shaped similar to a teardrop with size variations.

      Hope that helps!

  8. ugo says:

    Yetunde,

    i was hoping you will post thanksgiving recipes..lol. Anyway, can I make this with sweet potatoes? I really dont like yam. I was thinking of adding chopped smoked turkey to it as well. What do u think? Happy thanksgiving in advance

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey you!

      Shame on me! I’ll post some for christmas. You probably could, sweet potatoes and yam are similar texture wise and the smoked turkey will for sure, be awesome with it!

      Let me know how it goes! I’d love to see photos too, I never would’ve thought to use sweet potatoes…

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

      • UGo says:

        I actually finally bought the yam. Geez yam here is expensive oh. Never again. Lol. I will mix it with the sweet potatoes. Will let u know how it turns out. Fingers crossed

        • Yetunde says:

          I thought you weren’t using yam! Lol, yam is kinda expensive sha. I think it should turn out good if you mix it, I’m really curious as to the final result, so be sure to keep me posted!

          • ugo says:

            Lol. I wasn’t going to use yam initially but I was afraid it would be too sweet so I caved. lol. But I am pleased to report that the combo was great. I used half of the yam and substituted the half with two large sweet potatoes. I also cooked the smoked turkey with the yam which helped the flavor a lot. It was gone in hours and i plan on making another one this week. I will send the one picture I have though I dont think it does it justice. I had to bake it towards the end as the thing was burning. Thanks again for another great recipe.

          • Yetunde says:

            I love it! Will post this week or next along with my thoughts! ;)

            You’re welcome!

  9. ugo says:

    Also, can I bake it instead?

    • Yetunde says:

      You probably could bake it, but I would bake it at the tail end of the recipe, maybe the last 15-30 minutes of cooking time.

  10. May says:

    I’m a pretty decent cook but for some reason I hadn’t been able to get the asaro just right – I tried your recipe with a couple of my own tweaks and my husband has immediately requested that we put it on heavy rotation! LOL. Thanks much girl. Happy TG.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey May!

      Yay for your husband requesting it in rotation now! That’s always good news ;) How did you tweak it?

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family too!

  11. May says:

    Oh – and forgot to say – I hooked it up with a variation on your stewed whiting. I had croaker fish and used that instead – it didn’t hold up too well so I wouldn’t recommend it but it tasted amazing. I’ll def use whiting or a sturdier fish next time. And I second the request for Ofada – I know it’s tough to make it authentic outside of Nigeria but anything close to it would be fantastic!

    • Yetunde says:

      Stewed whiting is always a winner! Note on Ofada taken ;)

  12. Frances says:

    I really do not love cooking, but when I saw your post I decided to give it a trial, its so beautiful to try things you think you know in a different style. Thanks for making me believe in myself.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Frances!

      Aww, omg, oooh, I’m almost speechless. Through the site, I’ve found that I’ve inadvertently become somewhat of a teacher and I’ve taken that as a great honor to be able to help people in whatever way I can. I’m just glad and eternally appreciative that you in turn appreciate the site, and in extension, me.

      You’re so very welcome.

  13. Fiiyin says:

    I absolutely love your website. I’m always coming here to try new recipes. I am a Nigerian girl here in the states and I’m always trying to stay on top of my Nigerian cooking. You’re a great inspiration. :)
    About the recipe, are the stockfish and Ginger necessary? I personally don’t want to go out and get stockfish and Ginger isnt my favorite. Please help!

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Fiiyin!

      Aww, thank you!! Stockfish and ginger are optional, so add only if you care to. You can tweak the recipe and customize it to your liking!

      Hope that helps!

  14. Gold says:

    Omg. I dnt know wat to say or how to tnk u enough. Cos I just won a place in my future mother inlaws heart. I was so scared wen my hubby said his mum was cuming over for dinner.. Reason beinng I hate cooking nigerian dishes. Cos I honestly suck @ dem. So I decided to google yam porridge n ur site came up. U needed to see how relieved I was. I decided to try ur recipe. But witout d ginger n stock fish I opted 4 turkey instead n I totally nailed it. Cos my mother inlaw n my hubby loved it all d way. tnx soo much 4 cumin up wit dis website. Muaah

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Gold!

      Aww, I love hearing good news like that! Glad you won her over, that’s always a good thing! And adding turkey instead of stock fish is a great idea!

  15. Thelma says:

    can u use cocoyams?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Thelma!

      I’ve never tried it with cocoyams, so I can’t really give you a definite answer. However, I don’t think it would turn out badly, so it’s worth a try.

      If you do try it, keep me posted!

  16. Amy says:

    My mom’s sick and being the only girl, I have to be the one cookin (which i’m quite ashamed to say, i don’t know much on how to). Googled Yam porridge and your site came up. Really relieved. I’ma cook your recipe this night. The thing’s i have to do wit fish. Don’t know how i’ll add dat, u didn’t say anythin about it. Can i get your help pls?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Amy!

      Aww, I’m sorry to learn that. Not need to be ashamed on not really knowing how to cook. Cooking is a learning process, we all had to start from somewhere! The fish is added in step 6, if it’s stock or other dried fish, you’ll have to soak it to get it soft, otherwise, if you’re cooking with fresh fish, you can just shred it and add it also in step 6.

      Hope that helps. Keep me posted and well wishes to your mum.

  17. Dee Dale says:

    What a great explanation and recipe!! Thanks Yetunde. Will be trying it tonight. Hoping to get that fish that you talked about.

    Dee

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Dee!

      Thanks and you’re welcome. Keep me posted on how it turns out!

  18. Judith O says:

    I’ve never used tomato/peppers to cook yam porridge… I cook the yam, season it to taste (including cray fish, stockfish etc) , and add palm oil for taste… Maybe this is an Igbo way to cook it?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Judith!

      As far as I know, this is the only way I ever learned to make Asaro. That said, this is the Yoruba way and I have no idea how Igbos make theirs.

  19. #lonelyinosun says:

    hi yetunde,i’ve been a bigfan of avartsy for almost a year but never dropped a comment. i recently moved to osun state for work and i basically know noone here…so boredom has driven me to cooking..never bin a great cook but ur website inspires me to try…and i have decided to make every recipe on your website *bigsmile* so this weekend ts gonna be asaro which i’ve never made before…so here it goes…just learnt i cud post pictures of food i make,how exactly do i do that?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey there!

      Aww, well thank you for leaving your first comment, I appreciate it! Cooking is all trial and error, and as time goes, you’ll perfect your skills :) Wow, I’m impressed, all the recipes on the site?! Okay now, I’ll be holding you to that, so don’t you try giving up at any point. Good luck though, I’ll be rooting for your success!

      Asaro is pretty straightforward, but if you have questions, just be sure to send me an email or leave a comment!

      There is currently no upload feature on the site, but you can email me your photos: yetunde@avartsycooking.com. I’m sure eventually you’ll make friends, cook and invite some of your co-workers for dinner or take them lunch, that’s a surefire way to make friends quickly ;)

  20. Blesso says:

    Hello,

    Thanks so much for this website.

    Please what is Adobe seasoning? What can I use as a substitute?

    Thanks so much

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Blesso!

      You’re most welcome! Adobo is a Mexican all purpose seasoning. I’ve stopped using it since some readers were having a hard time finding it. However, you can substitute if for any other brand of all purpose seasoning.

  21. cecille says:

    I made mine tonight but used fresh oily mackerel ‘titus’ instead. Yummy! And lots of onions, crayfish and hot pepper..I love pepper

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Cecille!

      Ooh, gosh, that sounds delish!

  22. Abimbola says:

    Thank you so much for this! This was my second attempt at asaro, ever! The first was a disaster cos I used sweet potatoes and some random recipe online (*SMH*). I decided to try with actual yams (despite the 45min drive to the African store), after stumbling across ur site, and I certainly don’t regret it! Also I’ve never cooked stew or stew-base foods with whole tomatoes, as is done the proper Naija way. I’ve always used canned diced tomatoes instead. Well, i did tonight and I suspect I’ll be cooking the traditional method more often! Thanks again, and I look forward to trying other recipes on ur site!

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Abimbola!

      You’re most welcome! You could use sweet potatoes though, since the texture of sweet potatoes is quite similar to that of yams. The taste might be a bit off since the peppers will overwhelm the subtle sweetness of the potatoes. It does, however, provide another option, provided you modify some aspects, such as watering down the peppers a bit as sweet potatoes don’t take as long as yams to cook.

      Ha! I love that you’re preparing to switch to fresh tomatoes instead of canned, yay! I tend to shy away from canned products because of the preservatives in them and fresh just tastes better.

      Keep me posted on how the other recipes turn out :)

  23. jo says:

    I tasted some yam porridge about a year ago and I liked it, it had a bit of a sweet taste to it. i dunno if sweet potatoes was used but i was wondering how i can get that sweet taste…what kinda taste does this recipe produce? I LOVE THIS SITE btw…:)

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Jo!

      When you mention sweetness, do you mean a salty sweetness or a sugary sweetness. If it’s a salty sweetness, I’d imagine that would come from the seasonings used, you can achieve that using Knorr or Maggi cubes. If the sweetness is sugary, there could be a hint of sugar in it. I’ve never added granulated sugar to Asaro, but I wouldn’t say it’s never been done, so there’s that consideration.

      Sweet potatoes have a subtle sweetness that will get overwhelmed by the flavors of the blended peppers, so I wouldn’t really recommend it, even though they have a similar consistency to yams.

      Hope that helps <3

  24. Michael says:

    I just made mine today…looks and tastes perfect….my Chinese friends want a piece of the action!

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Michael!

      Nice, glad it came out well. Get ‘em in on our food, they might just like it ;)

  25. luca bracee says:

    hi just stumbled on your website while looking for an asaro recipe for the 1 tuber of yam i have had for ages gone through your tutorial but it seemed as if you missed a step/stage.
    from the no4 where you cut the yam into cubes the very next stage was showing the blended pepper and other ingredients pls could you explain at what point the boiled yam is added thanks

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Luca!

      No steps were missed, as you don’t boil the yam. Just cut into cubes, set aside, blend your peppers, add yam you cut and other ingredients and let cook.

      Hope that helps!

      • luca bracee says:

        YES IT DID THANKS MAKING ANOTHER ONE THIS WEEKEND

        • Yetunde says:

          Hey Luca!

          Awesome! You go hon!

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