Just a hearty, warmly and yet a super healthy dish to welcome everyone into the month of September.... This yam and vegetable dish is just spot on!!!

Now is that time of the year when everyone starts recounting and retrospecting how far he or she has spent the year so far, what has been achieved so far, whattt and whatt are yet to be achieved. I am so amazed how fast this year has gone so far --- the ups and downs etc---

Well, thoughts like these usually prompt me to come up special healthy "nerves---calming" recipes like this yam and vegetable. It might interest you to know that recipes such as this are basically why I love cooking. These past few months have seen me sharing both yams (monocots) and assorted vegetable recipes, which usually turns out awesomely yummilicious!!! 

vegetable yam- ji-akwukwo-nri

Just to keep it simple, it appears that this particular yam and vegetable dish has exceeded the previous ones I made in the past, both in terms of freshness, texture, taste and attractiveness. Well, I had to indulge my hubby to join me in the taste-test in order to be sure that this palatable dish comes out exactly the way we expected it to be... And alas, it did come out pretty well for sure...

Whatever the case, either yam dish or vegetable dishes are delicious on their own and to think of pairing them both together was just the icing on the cake. The finished yam and vegetable (ji akwukwo nri) dish was so soft, flavourful and delicious that you would want to eat the same food over and over and over again.

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Right!!! Let's now unravel some important facts and benefits of green vegetables (amaranth) or akwukwo nri :D
Amaranth is a green leafy vegetable consumed in various parts of the globe especially in Africa, Asia, American and the Caribbean. This greenish leafy vegetable is made up of four main species namely; Amaranthus dubius, Amaranthus tricolor, Amaranthus cruentus and Amaranthus blitum.

Green amaranth vegetables are an excellent source of folate, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, thiamine, copper, zinc, calcium, manganese, iron and protein. Interestingly, the protein contained in amaranth vegetables is also suitable for gluten-free vegans since this type of protein contains no gluten. It might also interest you to know that including green leafy vegetables (amaranth) in your diet is a healthy option!!!

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This yam and vegetable (ji akwukwo nri) is a perfect recipe collection for welcoming an EMBER month and the dish for sure does not disappoint! It's just right on point!!!

But hang on, before I proceed to expatiate more on this yam and vegetable dish, I know you might have been wondering what the term "ji akwukwo nri" is all about. In a nutshell, ji akwukwo nri is an Ibo word for yam and vegetable dish. Ji is an Ibo name for yam while akwukwo nri is an Ibo name for edible vegetables. The dish is packed with numerous vitamins and nutrients to its fullest in order to produce nothing but a wonderfully healthy and nutritious meal.

Both the palm oil, ehu seeds, tomberry tomatoes, onions, pepper, salt and local mixed spices really added up an awesome hint of flavour and richness to the dish. Well, I decided to spice up this yam and vegetable (ji akwukwo nri) dish a little bit with local spices by adding a teaspoon of roasted ground ehu seeds while mixing the yam and vegetables together with the ingredients. It added an aromatic and delicious twist that actually upgraded the recipe to the next highest level. Fantastic winning spice to boost your yam and vegetable collection!!!

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Permit me to elaborate more on what yam is all about... Yam is an edible tuber that belongs to the genus Dioscorea and family Dioscoreaceae with perennial herbaceous vines. Yam is a monocut that is planted mainly for its starchy tubers that are consumed especially in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. Although some parts of the world do regard sweet potatoes as yam, yet that is just far from it.

While yam is of the family of Dioscoreaceae, sweet potatoes belong to the Convolvulaceae family. Both yam and sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) have distinctive features from each other varying from their textures, colours and tastes. While yam is slightly hard in texture, white in colour and neutral or sweet in taste, sweet potato tends to be softer in texture and sweeter in taste.

The skin colour and flesh of sweet potatoes can range from brown, white to yellow or orange to red depending on the species. Yam skin can vary in colour, ranging from light brown to dark brown while the flesh can vary in colour ranging yellow, brown or white.

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Yam has a characteristics rough skin with short thorns and can prove a bit difficult to peel if using a blunt knife. Yam tends to be hard while still raw but tends to soften after cooking, although some really dry yams can take quite a long time to get soften while cooking.

Yam is characterised by cylindrical shape with rough skin and smooth firm flesh. Yam is an excellent source of carbohydrates, phenylalanine, dietary fibre, manganese, potassium and thiamin. Yam is made up of a lower level of glycemic index, with approximately 54% of glucose per 150g serving.

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Culinarily, vegetables can be cooked and served in different forms as well as yam. Different countries have different cuisines for yam and vegetables and some culture eat yam during special occasions, ceremonies or events. For example, the new yam festival of the Igbo people is usually held at the beginning of every month of August and end of the raining season as a mark of the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the upcoming work cycle.

The new yam festival of the Igbo people is a cultural event when the participants cook new yams using assorted recipes such as; roasting and eating with red oil, preparing the yam as a porridge (ji awii, ji mmiri oku or ji akwukwo nri.) The new yam festival of the Igbo people also known as Iwa ji is that time of the year when every family showcases their yam cooking skills for really delicious and appetising dishes to complement the event as well as gracefully welcome the EMBER months of the year.

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Apart from the Ibos, Ghanaians and other African countries do hold the new yam festivals in commemoration of thanking their gods for providing their first crops to be harvested in the year. Yam is a major staple food of the Igbos and Benue state.

So to cut the long story short, this yam and vegetable (ji akwukwo nri) is a very special and delectable dish you can't afford to miss. The dish would be perfect for any meal you would normally do with your main food.

It cooked up so well and heavenly with the greenish vegetables turning slightly brownish and soft before the entire dish became reddish from the few drops of palm oil that were added to boost the appearance. Honestly, it made a wonderful dish you can think of cooking-up to welcome a new month with.

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Give this yam and vegetable (ji akwukwo nri) recipe a try and I bet you will definitely enjoy it.

XoXo Blessing 



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