Mother Africa’s Spicy Kale and Yam

The term “yam” is something of a misnomer; in America it actually refers to an orange-fleshed, moist sweet potato, whereas the rest of the world knows yams as enormous tubers that measure several feet long, can weigh over a hundred pounds, and have a firmer, drier, white flesh. The garnet yams in this recipe are sweet potatoes with distinctive purplish-red exterior skins.

Nama shoyu is a type of unpasteurized soy sauce that is naturally aged for several years in cedar kegs, giving it a much more full-bodied flavor and complex bouquet than regular soy sauce. It can be found in natural foods stores and through online retailers.

Mother Africa’s Spicy Kale and Yam

Mother Africa’s Spicy Kale and Yam

  • 1 large bunch kale (thickest stems removed (about 4 cups chopped, firmly pressed))
  • 1½ pounds garnet yams, (peeled, well-rinsed and chopped (about 4 cups))
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon seeded and diced serrano chile
  • 2 cups sliced purple cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons nama shoyu soy sauce (or use regular soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Sea salt (or to taste)
  • Abba’s African Hot Sauce (see recipe on this site)
  1. Rinse and drain the kale well. Steam the kale until it is soft but still colorful, about 5 minutes. Steam the yams until cooked through (they should retain some firmness).
  2. While the kale and yams are steaming, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano chile. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the cabbage and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. (Add small amounts of water if necessary to prevent sticking.)
  4. Place the cabbage in a large bowl with the soy sauce and salt; add the kale and mix well. Add the yams and gently mix. Serve with Abba’s African Hot Sauce (recipe elsewhere on this site).

Cooking Note: If you plan to serve this dish a day or two after preparing it, wait to add the yams until just before heating and serving. They tend to discolor and appear brownish as all the vegetables sit together.

— Gladys,

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