Thursday, April 28, 2022

Yam and Yoghurt

 Have you heard of Yam ??

Image credit: wikimedia commons

Well, yam is a family of plants that produces edible tubers. It comes in different varieties and is commonly found in India and across South East Asia. I do not know if its eaten in other parts of the world.

One type of yam we regularly use is senaikkilangu  which apparently translates to Elephant Foot Yam in English. If you see the picture you may agree that its an apt name.

Its brown on the outside and a sort of yellow on the inside. It can get a little itchy while cutting and the tip to handling such vegetables is to soak them in sour substances like buttermilk or tamarind water or even starchy water gotten from washing rice. 

We make the sauteed version of the vegetable to go with rice. I personally love flavouring it with fennel seeds and it gives out a beautiful flavour. We can also make curries with it. 

I remember one of my friend's mother replacing fish with yam in a fried fish recipe when they had to go vegetarian for a month for some religious reason. In India, its common for non vegetarians to abstain from meat on days of religious significance 

After staying in Malaysia and Singapore , a unique discovery was yam flavoured icecream. I believe its made from the sweeter varieties of the vegetable. On Google I found out that it is a popular Filipino delicacy and is called Ube.

Food from other lands:

During my growing up years,  trains and buses were our main modes of intercity transport. My first flight journey was after I started working. That was not the only first on that day. It was also when i tasted yoghurt for the first time. Reading that line again, I guess I am close to making it sound like to an event of historical significance! Ha ha!

We do make curd at home but flavored yoghurt was a new discovery and i have been hooked ever since. It is a family favorite. I especially love the ones that have fruit bits like strawberry or nata de coco or aloevera . We get the low fat versions mostly and so its a healthier dessert compared to icecream. I love yoghurt on my salads too. Yoghurt and herbs dressing with carrots, peas, pineapples and almonds ! Ooh !! 

Food for thought

The quote for Y is also from Thirukkural, a great literary work of Tamil on ethics and morality that is supposed to have been composed around 2000 years ago. It consists of 1330 couplets (kurals) of seven words each. 

These words are from anciemt literary Tamizh and totally different from the colloquial or contemporary literary versions of the language.

Yaakaavaa raayinum naakaakka kaavaakkaal
soakaappar sollizhukkup pattu

This sort of tongue twisting kural has deep meaning.

Naa (naaku) - tongue

Kaaka - guard

Aayinum - even if

Yaakaavaarayinum - whatever one does not guard

Soakappar - face misery

Sollizhukku - fault of speech

Pattu - become subject to

Whatever be the possessions we guard or fail to guard, we must guard our tongue. 

In other words , exercise caution while talking. If not, once own words can cause one sorrow or misery.

Basically , it says , restraint is a must in speech. In todays world of social media its very important, isn't it ?


  1. First flight is always memorable and cannot forget it. I have traveled all over USA, Europe, and Asia several times. Buy I will never forget my first plane travel from Trichy to Chennai. Just 45 minutes only.

  2. Frankly I am not a fan of Yam. But its a vital ingredient of Undiyo i am told. Yoghurt I like and frozen yoghurt is also yummm

    1. I tasted undiyo only this year for the first time... it was quite good

  3. "Whatever be the possessions we guard or fail to guard, we must guard our tongue." - that is an excellent saying and one that should be heeded far more than it is on social media.

    Visiting from Facing The Mountain

  4. Yams are grown and eaten in Africa and the Caribbean also. In the USA we sometimes call sweet potatoes yams, but they aren't even related and are completely different. I've had lots of sweet potatoes and don't remember having any yams.
    I remember my first plane ride was to visit my sister when I was in college and they had standby flights that were really cheap.
    And I remember the first time I saw yogurt was in the university cafeteria. I didn't eat any then though. Now I eat yogurt every morning with fruit.
    I have really enjoyed your A to Zs.

  5. Elephant Foot Yam, cool name! I am not sure I have ever had yams. They're different from sweet potatoes, right?

    Can you believe we're amost through with our alphabet?

  6. I like sweet potatoes and am not sure if I've ever had yams. Like Tamara, I like the name "elephant foot yam." And I agree that it's amazing that we're almost done with the alphabet. It's been a great adventure and the first time that I haven't fallen behind. What a fun challenge this had been for me! I hope that you've enjoyed it, too.

  7. I love the idea of making that sentiment into a tongue twister.
    The only yams we have around here are the ones that are just like sweet potatoes.
    Y is for Yonder