The Perfect Yam Fries
Okay. Deep breath. It’s taken years (I kid you not, years) of making mediocre, semi-mediocre, decent, alright, good, better, great yam fries to get to the point of perfect yam fries. Every time. This is one yam fries recipe you can depend upon, day in and day out. They’re baked, so they’re super easy to make at home and probably healthy for you too. No big deal or anything.
Why yam fries, you ask? Normal fries are good, but yam fries are great. Your obsession with them starts out small—a friend orders them, and you deign to try them because, well, you’re hungry and they’re offering. At first all you’re thinking is, “Okay, these are fries, but with a funny flavour. What gives?” Then you down a few more, and suddenly you’re thinking, “Alright, they’re decent and totally fulfilling my fries craving. And this sauce is dee-lish. What is it?” Suddenly the plate is empty, and you and your friend stare at it forlornly. One of you suggests that together you bite the bullet and just order that second plate. Ignoring the fact that you were supposed to be at the gym and ended up at the university pub instead (ahem), it dawns on you that you probably can’t live without a second plate of yam fries right now oh my god.
And you’re hooked. Probably for life. Wondering where this amazing food has been your entire existence.
Homemade yam fries will quickly become a staple at any gathering you host, from movie nights to dinner parties to midnight snackies to weekly Monday night How I Met Your Mother traditions (you know who you are). So without further ado my friends, I offer up my masterpiece: homemade yam fries. Imbibe responsibly.
The Perfect Yam Fries
Makes: As much as you need!
Cooking time: 50 minutes
- 250 g / 8 oz yam per person (this recipe is for 500 g total)
- 1 tbsp egg white
- 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- dashes each of cumin, cayenne pepper, sage
- optional: 2-3 tbsp flour (see my notes)
One note before we begin. I realize that I have 1 tbsp of egg white in there, and you’re probably thinking, Joni, what the heck? I’m supposed to crack a whole egg for 1 tbsp of white? And the answer is yes. Please do it. It’s the key to this whole recipe, and why my yam fries went from good to beautiful and heartbreakingly delicious. (Maybe I should stop talking these up, lol.) The good news is that you’re hopefully making something soon which needs the rest of the egg—Aztec Cookies? Fried Tofu Bites? Mushroom, Lentil, & Rice Bake? There’s lots to choose from, so don’t let the rest of that egg go to waste!
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 F / 200 C. Give your yam(s) a good scrub, cutting off any gross bits but leaving the skin intact. Slice your yam into fry-shaped slightly smaller-than-finger sizes, so just less than 1 cm thick. Don’t go any smaller or else your yam fries will disintegrate while cooking! Bigger will mean that you’ll have to cook them for longer. Try to keep the sizes fairly uniform for even baking.
Toss your yam fries with the egg white, honey or brown sugar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Use spices to taste. (A lot goes with yam fries; nutmeg is a unique one, curry and or tamarind are wonderful, or you could go for a different angle and try paprika and basil, for example.) Add your flour to coat slightly; this is good if you like your yam fries with a bit of a battered texture, but is totally optional.
Spread your yam fries out on a baking sheet so that there’s as little overlap between the yam fries as possible. Here and there is fine, but too much and they’ll stick together or not cook properly. Grease your baking sheet first or use something non-stick; alternately, one of the things that I thought helped my yam fries a lot was using a silicone baking sheet. These are wonderful to own anyway, and also keep your yam fries from losing their amazing crispy exterior to a sticky baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F / 200 C, then remove from the oven and stir your yam fries to ensure even baking. If you notice a bit of cooked white egg on the side of some of them, don’t worry! For some reason this disappears later. Bake for another 20 minutes and remove from oven. Check to make sure they’re soft the whole way through. And… voila! Delicious, beautiful, homemade yam fries. Your friends are about to love you a whole bunch more! Serve with sour cream and sweet chili sauce, ketchup, or…