Japanese Yams: how this forgotten vegatable is getting more popular
Japanese yams are often a bit of an enigma in America, but the Japanese have been eating them for centuries. In Japan, there are an estimated 130 different types of yams to enjoy and new ones are still being discovered! To start your research on the japanese yam scene, here are a few things you need to know about this tasty tuber.
What are Japanese Yams and How Did They Come To Be?
Japanese yams are some of the most popular vegetables in Japan. They are used in a variety of dishes, from simple boiled or steamed yams to more complex dishes such as tempura and sushi rolls. What is the history of Japanese yams? And how did they become so popular?
The origins of Japanese yams are unknown, but they may have originated in China or Southeast Asia. The first recorded mention of them was in a book written in 1597 by the Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen. He called them ‘yams de Oost Indische eiland,’ which means ‘yams from the East Indian islands.’ Over time, the name became ‘Japanese yams.’
Japanese yams are grown throughout Japan, but they are especially popular in the southern area around Fukuoka and Kagoshima. There is also a small community of Japanese yam growers in Oregon.
What makes Japanese yams so special?
Japanese yams have a sweet taste and a firm texture. They are also high in carbohydrates, which makes them a good source of energy. It’s used in sweets, desserts and some Japanese cuisines. Japanese yams are typically served boiled and sliced. They can also be stir-fried or roasted and eaten as a porridge or soup. You can use them in many other ways: dumplings, pickles, cakes and breads. Japanese yams are usually eaten with tea or sake.
Raw Japanese yams are not easy to come by in Japan. Most of the time they’re sold frozen or canned. When you buy a frozen block of Japanese yams, it is usually thawed out before it’s cooked though, so that you get the real taste of the fresh product instead of a processed one (which isn’t very delicious).
History of Japanese Yam
The yam (Dioscorea rotundifolia) is a member of the nightshade family that grows in temperate and subtropical regions around the world. The fruit of the yam is a staple food in East and Southeast Asia, where it is known as sweet potato or tapioca. In Japan, it is most commonly known as oshinko. There are many varieties of oshinko, but the most popular is the white oshinko (Dioscorea alata).
Types of Japanese Yam
There are three types of Japanese yams: daikon, taro, and sweet potato. Daikon is the most popular, followed by taro, then sweet potato. Each type has its own unique flavor and texture. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right Yam for your dish.
Daikon yams are the starchiest of the three yams. They can be used in soups or as a main ingredient in stir fries or other dishes. They have a slightly sour taste and a firm, crunchy texture.
Taro yams are slightly sweeter than daikon yams and have a softer texture. They’re often used in savory dishes like stews or dumplings. They have a mild flavor and can be cooked either boiled or roasted.
Oshinko yams are an ancient variety of yam that have been cultivated in Japan for over 5,000 years. They’re sometimes called the Jewish potato because they resemble the shape of a potato. They have a slightly sweet flavor and are often used to make dumplings or stews.
How to buy Japanese yams
Depending on where you live in Japan, there are many different types of Japanese yams. In most places, the choice is between either konnyaku or kuromame. If you live near a big city (like Tokyo), you will probably be able to find both kinds of yams (konnyaku and kuromame). You can also find Japanese yams at specialty Japanese grocery stores in some cities or even supermarkets that sell imported goods. If you see them at a supermarket, they will be labeled as ‘Kyoto Yam’.
Cooking with Japanese Yam
The most popular yam in Japan is the Oshinko. Yam is a type of tuber that has been cultivated in Japan for centuries, and it is often used in savory dishes or as a staple food. The Oshinko yam is a variety that is medium to long in shape and has a smooth, slightly waxy texture. It is often cooked and served as a side dish, and its mild flavor makes it a perfect pairing with other flavors.
Recipe using Japanese Yam
Japan is the home of many yams, though most people outside of Japan are not familiar with them. Japanese yams are unique in that they are both sweet and savory. They are used as a sweetener in many Japanese desserts, as well as in savory dishes. Recently, Japanese yams have become more popular in the United States, and there are even restaurants featuring them now. Here is a recipe using Japanese yams that you can try at home.
-1 1/2 pound Japanese yams
-1/2 cup water
-3 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 teaspoon honey
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-3 green onions, including green top, chopped
-1/4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth (if needed)
How to prepare:
1. Wash the yams and peel off any remaining skin.
2. Then cut into small pieces, about 1 inch wide by 3 inches long.
3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat.
4. Add the yam pieces to the skillet and sauté for several minutes until it starts to brown, stirring frequently.
5. Add the water and cover with a lid (but not tightly).
6. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the yams are tender but still firm when bitten into (make sure not to overcook them).
7. In a small bowl or cup, combine soy sauce, honey, ginger, pepper, and green onions and mix well to form a marinade for the yams.
8. Pour the entire mixture over the yams and toss to coat.
Other Benefits of Japanese Yams
If you love Japanese yams, there are plenty of other benefits to enjoying them besides their delicious taste. Here are five of the most popular reasons why people love eating yams:
1. They Are a Good Source of Dietary Fiber
One cup of cooked Japanese yams provides about seven grams of fiber, which is more than half the recommended daily intake for adults. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and keep digestion running smoothly. Plus, fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet because it helps reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease.
2. They Are a Good Source of Manganese and Copper
Yams also contain trace amounts of manganese and copper, which are both essential minerals for human health. Manganese helps to produce energy while copper assists in protecting cells from oxidative damage. Both nutrients are important for maintaining good nerve function and preventing chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
3. They Are Low on Calories and Fat
Unlike many other types of food, yams don’t contain a lot of calories or fat. This makes them a great option for people who want to lose weight or manage their calorie intake in a healthy way
Japanese yams are a forgotten vegetable that is slowly but surely gaining in popularity. They have a mild, sweet taste and a creamy texture that makes them ideal for dishes like risotto or mashed potatoes. If you’re looking to add some interesting flavor to your meals without having to spend too much time in the kitchen, give Japanese yams a try!