Dundun, fried Yam, is one of the delicacies we have in Nigeria. It is also a popularly consumed street food and they are sometimes sold with Akara (Fried Bean cake) or fried plantains and it is served with fried stew (Ata Dindin).
Yam is expensive at the moment in Nigeria. A big tuber of old Yam, depending on the size, can go for about 1000 Naira and above depending on the area where you are shopping from. The sad part is that you do not know the state of the yam until you cut it open. However, there have been inflows of new yam into the market which are just a little cheaper than the preferred old yam.
I got some new yam and I decided to make some fried Yam. I also had eggs at home, Shokoyokoto leaves (Lagos spinach/Celosia), Pimento pepper, onions, and garlic.
To make the Dundun, I went for one of the few oils that would not produce trans-fat when heated at high temperature – Coconut oil. Coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. It is expensive to get Virgin Coconut oil but when I prioritize, the cost of the coconut oil for frying would still be less than the cost of diseases as a result of high consumption of Trans fat. Trans-fat has been implicated in coronary heart diseases, inflammation and different metabolic disorders. This being said, I also manage the quantity I use.
After slicing my yams and adding a little salt for taste, I shallow-fried the yam until they were slightly golden but done. I shallow-fried to reduce the quantity of coconut oil; a larger quantity will be needed for deep frying and this is expensive. I still got the same result as deep-frying.
Frying to just a slight golden colour was also deliberate to reduce the formation of acrylamide which is strongly linked to cancer. Acrylamide is formed when foods containing sugars in the presence of asparagine, an amino acid found in foods, are heated to high temperatures causing that browning effect in foods especially fried, baked, roasted and toasted foods.
To go with the fried yam, I fried the eggs with onions, garlic, fresh rosemary, pimento pepper (Tatase) and chopped Shokoyoko leaves (Celosia spp also called Lagos Spinach) using salt and black pepper to taste. The used coconut oil came in handy for the frying of the eggs. If the eggs are too dry for you and you have Ata dindin (fried stew), you can add some to make it a greater food experience.
Achieving optimum and safe nutrition does not mean giving up all the foods that you love; you just might have to tweak some of your food preparation practices to make these foods safer and healthier for consumption.