West African yams, which appear often in Nigerian cooking, are larger, much starchier, denser and less fibrous than American yams or sweet potatoes, with stark white flesh.
1 medium West African yam (about 900g)
4 to 6 cups canola or other neutral oil, for frying
Obe ata or your preferred condiment, for dipping (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high and season generously with salt.
Fill a large bowl with water. Working quickly to avoid oxidation, slice off the ends of the yam and peel the brown skin.
Cut the yam into 2cm-thick rounds and transfer to the bowl.
Once sliced and peeled, cut each piece into 1cm-wide matchsticks, slicing a few rounds at a time and transferring matchsticks back to the water. (You should get about 5 to 8 sticks per piece.)
Working in batches, drop the matchsticks into the simmering water and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the hot water and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet to drain.
Repeat the blanching and draining process for the remaining matchsticks. Fill a large pan with 2.5cm of canola oil. (You’ll need about 4 cups for a 25cm pan.)
Heat the oil over medium-high until it registers 180ºC on an instant-read thermometer.
Working in two or three batches to avoid crowding, and replenishing the oil as needed, fry the yam matchsticks, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from oil and drain on a baking sheet set with paper towels or a rack. Season the fries with salt.
Serve fries warm, with some obe ata or your preferred condiment for dipping.
The New York Times