What is Pounded Yam Made Of? (See the Right Answers)

Pounded yam is a popular dish in Nigeria and other African countries. More than often, it is usually included in the food menu for special events. The meal is also considered to be a favorite for the elderly, as yam has been a primary food for our ancestors in Nigeria and other African nations.

Pounded yam is prepared by using mortar and pestle. The yam is boiled to a certain level and then pounded in a mortar until it becomes fluffy and thick. It is then served with a delicious soup. However, with the production of yam flour, the recipe can now be made by stirring yam flour in hot water. But the unique taste of yam pounded in mortar is nowhere to be found in the stirred recipe.

If you want to make this dish from scratch the traditional way, then you are on the right page. Also, this article covers the health benefits of pounded yam and sauces that perform well with the dish.

How to Make Pounded Yam Using Mortar and Pestle

Yam preparation would have been easy if the muscle power that goes into the pounding can be taken out of the equation. Unfortunately, it can’t.

Below are the tools and ingredients you’re going to need.


  • Mortar and Pestle
  • 1 Yam tuber (or more)

Cooking and Preparation Instructions

  1. Using a knife, cut your yam tuber into round slices.
  2. Peel off the back of the yam slices with your knife and transfer to a bowl of clean water.
  3. Rinse the slices two to three times.
  4. Put all the yam slices into a pot and fill the pot with water enough to cover the slices.
  5. Set on heat.
  6. While the yam is cooking, wash your mortar and pestle and set aside.
  7. Relax until the yams are soft. Your yam is well-cooked once a knife or fork can slide through the yam easily.
  8. Transfer them into the mortar and begin pounding immediately. Pound from the bigger chunks to the smallest. Make sure to set aside the water used in boiling the yam as it will be used later.
  9. After a while, as you’re pounding, the yams will start to get stretchy but rough in texture, do not fret as it is supposed to happen. Just keep pounding.
  10. At some point, the yam will begin to stiffen, especially to the pestle. This time, add some water (not much) from the pot used in cooking the yam and continuing pounding. Adding water is necessary to soften the yam until you get a fluffy and compact (perfect) consistency.
  11. Once it starts to stiff, repeat step 10 until everything holds together, smooth, and becomes stretchy.
  12. You can now serve the soup with your favorite sauce.


Do not add salt either when cooking or when pounding.

Pounded yam on its own has a slightly sweet taste that makes salt unnecessary. In fact, adding salt will cause an over-seasoned taste and ruin your precious meal.

Pounding yam takes effort, including arm strength, to achieve a lumpy-free preparation.

One tip for not having lumps in your preparation is never to relax for too long when pounding. Also, remove both ends of the yam tuber from the ones you want to pound. The top end is usually extra hard and can cause lumps. The other end is usually soft, making it a potential problem. 

Overall, the more you pound yam, the more experience you have, and the better a job you’ll do at making the recipe.

While there are other methods for making this delicacy, such as stirring instant yam flour in hot water, the real recipe always has a distinct and unique taste.

ALSO READ: Is Fufu Good for the Body?

What Soup Goes Well with Pounded Yam?

Though this is based on preferences, Egusi soup is one of the best soups that pairs well with pounded. However, as mentioned earlier, it depends on what you crave for–different soups can be used to sauce pounded yam.

Ogbono soup is also another great pair. You can also combine pepper stew with jute leaves soup (Ewedu) to swallow the meal.

Is Pounded Yam Healthy?

Considering its nutritional content, yam tuber is rich in essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Carbohydrates, for example, are turned into energy to fuel different organs in the body. Dietary fiber is also another nutrient found in the food item that helps with bowel movement and blood sugar control.

With a low glycemic index (51), yam is one of the foods often recommended for managing health conditions like diabetes. However, you might want to consult with your health care specialist for compliant foods and proper guidance.

Because starchy tubers such as yam have very high carbohydrate content, they should be spaced out with other balanced meals as excess consumption can cause unnecessary weight gain.

The type of soup you take with pounded is also essential. Most of the soups earlier mentioned are healthy. For the sauces that require red palm oil, always make sure you use healthy oils.

Overall, when pounded yam is taken with healthy soup and consumed moderately, it’s nutritious and healthy.

ALSO READ: 6 Popular Nigerian Soups and their Health Impacts

Is Fufu the Same as Pounded Yam?

Fufu means different things to different people.

To some, they think of fufu as any root and starchy vegetables such as cassava, plantains, cocoyam, sweet potatoes, or yam tuber prepared into a dough-like-consistency meal like Semo, and Amala. 

But in Nigerian, fufu is credited to the food made from fermented cassava tuber. (also called akpu, loi loi, etc., in different parts of Nigeria). However, fufu is also the general term for tuber staples prepared as “swallows”.

It is, therefore, safe to refer to pounded yam as fufu, but be sure to specify the type of fufu you’re referring to when asked. 

Pounded yam
Image: Flickr.com

Wrap Up

Making pounded yam is both easy and hard.

Yam tubers can be found anywhere in the country. On the other hand, pounding yam requires muscular arm strength. But when finished and sauced with the right type of soup, the effort is worth it.

To ensure your pounded yam offers benefits, take in moderation, and with healthy soup of your choice.