Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Yam? Sweet Potato? Taro?

I was at the market with my neighbours, Pat and Ming, when I told them I wanted to get some yams to make yam rice. "You mean taro? Most Malaysians are mistaken when it comes to naming these", Ming corrected me as she pointed to the tubers.  Not convinced, I asked Pat who has lived in America for some time. She confused me further when she insisted that these are called sweet potatoes in the US and Canada!

So what are these, really? Yam? Sweet potato or taro?

I googled and learned that interestingly, the confusion is not limited to Malaysians. While most Malaysians  mistake yam for taro, Americans have been confused about sweet potatoes and yams for hundreds of years!

A video to share

Er.... what about tapioca?

Sharing my yam/taro rice recipe. A word of caution - wear gloves when handling the raw yam/taro as the tuber contains crystals of calcium oxalate just beneath its peel. This substance will make your skin itch. Undercooked taro root and taro leaves can also cause extremely unpleasant itching in your mouth

1 cup uncooked long grain rice
200g yam/taro, skin removed and cubed
2 tbsp dried shrimps (soak in water for 15 minutes, drain and chop finely)
100g Chinese roast pork, diced into small pieces
dash of ground white pepper
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil

3/4 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash and drain rice. Set aside
Heat up a wok.  Add oil and scald  yam cubes on high heat for roughly 5 minutes till just about cooked. Set aside.
Using the remaining oil in the wok, stir fry the dried shrimps on medium low heat till fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).
Return the cooked yam to the wok. Add rice, roasted meat and ground white pepper. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes till all the ingredients are well mixed.
Allow the rice mixture to cool, then transfer to a rice cooker. Add 1 3/4 cup water to rice cooker followed by seasonings. Stir to ensure that the seasonings are well mixed. Let the rice mixture cook in the rice cooker.
Serve the yam rice hot, garnished with sliced chillies, green onions, and cilantro.


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. I don't know which is which either! Just stopping over to say hello. :)

  2. The recipe looks yummy!


  3. You're right! Americans get yams and sweet potatoes mixed up. When I go to the store and want yams, I find the sweet potatoes. And then when I go to the store and want sweet potatoes, they will have yams! It's crazy! This recipe sounds so delicious too!

  4. I love sweet potatoes! I always thought that yams and sweet potatoes were pretty much the same thing. It is confusing!

  5. Wow, I had no idea that there was a difference between sweet potatoes and yams. Thanks for the history lesson, and your recipe looks delicious. Can't wait to share this post with my readers.

  6. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a kind message. You are right about the confusion of the yams. haha. Nice blog. I will definitely be back to read more. I visited Kota Kinabalu years ago and passed through Kuala Lumpur. Lovely country.

  7. This looks delicious. I love sweet potato that much I know. Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS Hope you'll come again next Sunday.

    Nadia - ScandiMummy x

  8. I never knew about the itch inducing crystals beneath the peel! Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS

  9. I don't know the difference either if I'm honest! Your recipe looks lovely! #KCACOLS

  10. This sounds like a really tasty recipe. I grew up in America and I'm still confused about yams vs sweet potatoes. #kcacols

  11. Looks super yummy. Stopping by from Moms Blogger Club too. Have a great day!

  12. Veronica, this rice/shrimp/taro dish is a fresh idea for me thank-you!
    I'm enjoying checking out your blog, so much to like!
    Cheers to you from the Mom Bloggers Club

  13. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I originally grew up in the Caribbean and we call these Yams as well. I've always wondered why Americans called them sweet potatoes because they are not sweet, unlike real sweet potatoes.