If you’ve never experienced chili with yams, then you are in for a real treat. These sweet potatoes are like a firecracker in your mouth, exploding with flavor. Then, there’s the melt-in-your-mouth texture.
There’s just nothing like sweet, sour, spicy and savory yams.
Star Ingredient: yams
Flavor Affinities: SUGAR + CHILE PEPPERS + VINEGAR + SESAME
Function: equally cooling and warming
Tastes: sweet, sour, spicy
Textures: sticky, tender, creamy
Method: steaming + grilling (or roasting)
Wisdom: Using a dry heat method concentrates the sweetness of the yams and can provide some chewy texture on the outside to contrast the creaminess of the inside.
You can either roast or grill these yams – your choice. Both methods work equally well to tenderize the yams while developing that candy texture that screams “eat me.” The trick? Using the yam’s natural sugars, you can apply heat and time and that’s it. You know when the yams are perfect when they are fork tender and you can see some color on the outside (that’s just the sugars caramelizing).
To make the chili glaze, you need a few Asian ingredients that can be found easily with Asian condiments in most grocery stores.
- sriracha – the chili component
- tamari – available “gluten free” (substitutions: shoyu, good quality soy sauce)
- rice vinegar – white or brown rice vinegar
- sesame oil – preferably toasted for savoriness
- sugar – granulated sugar or honey (a key element to this sticky glaze)
Don’t worry if the glaze appears separated at first. Once you warm it up, everything will come together uniformly. I recommend bringing it to a simmer and turning off the heat right away. You will quickly see the glaze turn into a smooth and shiny sauce.
Be generous with the sauce because it’s bound to be everybody’s favorite part. Since there’s sesame oil in the sauce, it seemed fitting to garnish with sesame seeds, but you can easily leave them off. Serve these sweet potatoes by themselves or as a side dish with grilled chicken or steak.
Do you agree with the firecracker description? Let me know:)
Firecracker Chili Glazed Yams
- 2 large yams, peeled
- 2 tbsp refined coconut oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup tamari, use gluten free if needed
- 1 1/2 tbsp sriracha
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- green onion, sliced thinly for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the grill. In a large pot, add a strainer insert or colander and 1-2 inches water. Place a lid on the pot and bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Cut the yams into 3/4 inch slices. Thick slices prevent the yams from falling through the grill grates. Place the sliced yam in the strainer and steam for 10 minutes until tender but a bit firm.
- Use tongs to lay the yams out on a baking tray. Brush with refined coconut oil or other neutral oil. Place the yams directly on the hot grill (be sure to clean the grates first). Leave them with the grill lid closed for 5 minutes before checking. You want to develop char marks so turn the yams as little as possible. Rotate check for tenderness.
- Add the tamari, sriracha, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar to a small skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and immediately turn the heat off when you see bubbles. Stir a bit, then dip the yams into the sauce. Alternatively, pour the glaze over the yams.
- Serve hot and sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onion if desired. Leftover yams can be stored in the fridge for 2 days.
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