US: Easy Asaro Recipe (Nigerian Yam Porridge)

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The aroma of freshly cooked yam porridge is enough to make your mouth water. If you love the taste and textures, this dish will be a must-try for lunch or dinner!

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Some of my fond childhood memories as a 90s child in Nigeria involve eating delicious Nigerian food surrounded by family.

I still remember eating my hot bowl of Nigerian yam porridge on a cool summer evening as my family shared details of their day.

For anyone wondering, yam porridge is a special Nigerian delicacy common to the Yorubas in Nigeria.

The beauty of this recipe is that many of the ingredients can be easily found in your kitchen.

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It’s also a simple dish that is easy to make with an amazing taste.

What Is Nigerian Yam?

Nigerian yam is a staple food in Nigeria classified under the root and tuber food class. It provides 200 calories of energy per capita daily.

In Nigeria, yam has an important social status in functions like the new yam festival held annually in various parts of Nigeria.

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Is It Yam Porridge or Pottage?

According to Wikipedia, porridge describes a meal made from different grains or starchy plants boiled in water or milk, while pottage is a term for thick soup or stew made with vegetables, grains, and meat or fish, if possible.

In Nigeria, however, the term porridge and pottage is used synonymously. Asaro yam pottage/porridge is made with tomatoes, other vegetables, and, if possible, meat or fish, along with yam.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Delicious Taste – Asaro is a wholesome meal with numerous additives, making it inviting and sweet to taste.
  • Highly Nutritious – The core ingredient, yam and palm oil, and the other ingredients added to garnish Asaro have made it a powerhouse of nutrients with several health benefits.
  • Easy to Digest – With porridge, one can finally say NO to constipation. Because more time is spent cooking yam porridge, it is easier to swallow and easier for the body to absorb its nutrients.

What Does Yam Porridge (Asaro) Taste Like?

Yam porridge is absolutely delicious, especially when the ingredients are carefully chosen for a rich and fluffy taste.

It is a combination of fresh Puna yam and tomato sauce. Yam porridge has become a favorite dish in most countries in West Africa, especially Nigeria.

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Is Yam Porridge Healthy?

Yam porridge is a rich source of carbohydrates, fats, and fiber, as well as vitamins like vitamin C, E, manganese, potassium, folate, thiamine, and vitamin B5.

Easy Asaro Recipe (Nigerian Yam Porridge)

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Most of its nutrients are from yam and palm oil, the main ingredients used to prepare this dish.

What Are The Benefits Of Yam Porridge?

May Improve Brain Health

The palm oil in yam porridge contains tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E with strong antioxidants that might improve brain health.

Also, yam in yam porridge contains a unique component called diosgenin that boosts neuron growth and enhances brain functions.

Strengthens the bone

The yam in yam porridge is high in potassium and manganese, vital nutrients for building strong bones.

Great source of Energy

The core ingredients in yam porridge contain carbohydrates, a great energy source for our bodies. For every gram of yam eaten, one and a half calories can be obtained.

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Improves cholesterol levels

Studies have shown that yam and palm oil can reduce bad LDL(low-Density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and increase good HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol.

Improves skin health

Yam is a well-recognized source of vitamins that are potent antioxidants. They help cell and tissue formation, which in turn improves skin condition.

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Boost immune system

Yam porridge contains antioxidants that strengthen the immune system.

Yam and palm oil used in preparing Asaro is a great source of carotenoids, vitamin E, and other nutrients that acts as antioxidants against cell damage.

Yam Porridge (Asaro) Ingredients

  • Yam: Yam comes in different species, but the best yam to use when making Asaro is puna yam or African yam. It adds a mild, earthy flavor and subtle sweetness to the yam porridge.
  • Red Bell pepper: Red bell pepper adds a sweet flavor, along with a slight zing to the yam porridge.
  • Scotch Bonnet (Ata Rodo): Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper adds spice and heat to the food.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes blended with the scotch bonnet and red bell pepper produce a thick, flavorful pepper mixture that can serve as a base for the Asaro. It gives the yam porridge its distinct taste.
  • Onions: Onions help bring out the flavor of the yam porridge.
  • Hake Fish: Hake is an oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is a versatile fish with a distinct flavor. With the right cooking and flavor pairing, it is a real treat.
  • Palm oil: Fresh palm oil gives Asaro yam pottage/porridge its red color and fluffy taste.
  • Beef seasoning powder or stock cubes: Stock cubes and salt give the Asaro taste. It should be added moderately to the dish as too much of it can ruin the food.
  • Ground Crayfish: Crayfish is used to intensify the aroma of the yam porridge. It spices up the food and gives it a traditional flavor.
  • Salt
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Tools Needed To Prepare Asaro

  • Blender / Food processor
  • Pot
  • Bowl
  • Wooden Ladle

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Yam Porridge

Palm Oil

Vegetable oil is a good alternative to palm oil. It, however, gives the porridge a different flavor and lacks the color the palm oil adds to the porridge.

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Yam

Sweet potato is a fantastic substitute for the puna yam. It is flavorful and downright delicious and can be mashed to desired consistency. The taste of the dish will, however, not be the same.

Tomatoes, Red bell Pepper and Habenero pepper

This pepper mix can be swapped with tomato paste and ground chili pepper or hot sauce.

Green Vegetables

For a more nutritional value and taste, yam porridge can be made with leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, or any other green of choice. It provides a rich, wholesome taste.

Any Other Protein of Choice

Meat, fresh fish, dry fish, or protein choice may be added to the yam porridge as desired.

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How to Make Asaro Yam Porridge Step-by-Step

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs tuber of yam
  • 2-3 hake fish cleaned (smoked whiting fish)
  • 3-4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 2 red bell pepper (Tatashe)
  • 3-4 scotch bonnet chillies (Ata Rodo)
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 240 ml palm oil
  • 1 tbs seasoning powder (or stock cubes)
  • 2-3 tbs ground crayfish
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

STEP 1: Add palm oil to the pot and set on medium heat. Add the diced onions to the oil and fry until fragrant.

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STEP 2: Add the clean hake fish to the pot and fry.

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STEP 3: Next, add the pepper mix, seasoning, salt, crayfish, and bay leaves to the pot.

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STEP 4: Allow reduction to about two-thirds of the initial volume. This can take up to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

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STEP 5: Next, add the cubed yams to the cooking pot.

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STEP 6: Now add some water, cover, and allow to cook.

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What To Serve With Yam Porridge (Asaro)

Plantain

Plantain can be served on the side to add a sweet note to the savory flavor of this dish.

Turkey or Chicken

Yam porridge goes well with grilled or air-fried chicken or turkey.

Nigerian Tomato Stew

Nigerian tomato stew is a perfect addition to yam porridge, especially when served with meat. It gives the porridge that extra homey tomato feel.

Spinach Stew (Efo Riro)

Asaro goes so well with efo riro. It brings the traditional, homey feel of an African dish when eaten.

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Tips About Making Yam Porridge (Asaro)

  • Potato Masher might be used in place of the wooden ladle to mash the yam to desired consistency.
  • All ingredients may be prepped ahead to reduce cooking time.
  • Yam porridge gets thick as it gets cold. To reduce thickness, water might be added and reheated when it is ready to be consumed.
  • Use fresh palm oil, as stale palm oil can change the taste of the Asaro

How To Store Yam Porridge (Asaro)

Yam porridge can be stored in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. It can last in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Once ready to be eaten, the frozen porridge can be left to thaw in the fridge overnight and reheated in the microwave or on a stove.

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FAQ About Yam Porridge

What is porridge called in Nigeria?

Yam porridge in Nigeria is called “Asaro” by the Yorubas and Agworago Ji by the Igbos. It is very popular in the western and eastern parts of Nigeria, with each its preparation style.

What is the meaning of Yam porridge?

Yam porridge is a delicious Nigerian yam dish made with Nigerian tomato sauce and palm oil until soft and fluffy with some yam chunks.

What is traditional Nigerian food?

Traditional Nigerian foods are unique recipes that have been consumed and passed on for many generations. They are the basis of nutrition in diverse cultures and societies.

Is yam porridge fattening?

Yam is an excellent food when trying to lose weight. The natural fiber in yam is very filling, and it helps slow down the rate of digestion in food. 240g of porridge contains 221 calories.

Why is my yam porridge not thick?

Yam porridge fails to thicken because too much water or too little yam was added to the dish.

When preparing yam porridge, the water added should be at the same level as the yam or about 1cm above the yam to get the desired slurry consistency.

To thicken watery yam porridge, mash a few cooked yam chunks into pieces and add them to the porridge until it thickens.

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Asaro (Nigerian Yam Porridge)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

The aroma of freshly cooked yam porridge is enough to make your mouth water. If you love the taste and textures, this dish will be a must-try for lunch or dinner!

Print

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs tuber of yam
  • 2-3 hake fish cleaned (smoked whiting fish)
  • 3-4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 2 red bell pepper (Tatashe)
  • 3-4 scotch bonnet chillies (Ata Rodo)
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 240 ml palm oil
  • 1 tbs seasoning powder (or stock cubes)
  • 2-3 tbs ground crayfish
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Add palm oil to the pot and set on medium heat. Add the diced onions to the oil and fry until fragrant.
  2. Add the clean hake fish to the pot and fry.
  3. Next, add the pepper mix, seasoning, salt, crayfish, and bay leaves to the pot.
  4. Allow reducing to about two-thirds of the initial volume. This can take up to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Next, add the cubed yams to the cooking pot.
  6. Now add some water, cover, and allow to cook.

Notes

  • Be careful when you peel the yam, so the starch from the yam does not touch anywhere except your palm. For some people, the starch makes their skin itchy.
  • Once you’re done peeling and washing the yam, chop it into cubes and add it to a clean bowl of water to prevent the yam from changing color.
  • When cleaning the fish, try as much as possible to remove as many bones as possible.
  • You can swap the hake fish for mackerel, stockfish (soaked for a few hours), or dry fish.

Nutrition Information: Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 892Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 1479mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 10gSugar: 13gProtein: 26g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Conclusion

For anyone who has never tried asaro before, I highly recommend trying this dish. It’s easy to prepare, full of flavor, and intensely satisfying.

Yam porridge is a perfect dish to be enjoyed at lunch or dinner. It digests easily and is very filling when eaten.

Now that you know how to make Nigerian yam porridge try it out and let us know what you think!

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This dish is perfect for lunch and dinner nights when you want something hearty and filling but still healthy.

The yam provides plenty of complex carbs for sustained energy, while the fish and vegetables add protein, vitamins, and minerals, making it a nutritious and satisfying dish.

Loved this Nigerian yam porridge (asaro)? Here are more Nigerian food recipes you should try:

  • The Best Nigerian Egg Sauce Recipe
  • Authentic Nigerian Afang Soup with okazi
  • 3-Ingredient Nigerian Coconut Candy
  • Hearty Nigerian Salad Recipe In 10 Minutes!
  • Tasty Nigerian Pounded Yam and Egusi Soup

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