Asaro (Yam and Plantain Curry) Recipe (2024)

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Perhaps reading the recipe is a useful starting point before racing to demonstrate your superior knowledge of tubers. It explicitly says that West African yams are typically used, as this is a West African dish, but the recipe suggests substitutes. Personally, I suspect sweet potatoes would be tasty, if softer and sweeter than yams. Yuca/cassava could be a starchier substitute that you can often find in the US, at least in Mexican grocery stores.


Delicious. I used plantains from the freezer and sweet potatoes as it’s what I had, and cooked in the Instant Pot — 15 min at low pressure after adding the veggies. Spinach to finish and habanero hot sauce to taste at the table. The gravy is amazing. Definitely a keeper!

Hannah K.

This took me longer than 50 minutes and I'm usually pretty quick or on par with time recommendations. Maybe set aside an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half? I mean... the stuff is simmering for 45 minutes so you better peel and chop and get everything else ready REALLY quickly to make that 50 minutes mark. Also, love this. Delicious and happy.


The cooking times are very optimistic. I ended up letting the shallots dry in a 175F oven. They eventually looked like the ones in the dish pic. Size of the cut vegetables; way too large. I should have looked at the dish pic more carefully and not follow instructions.I simmered the stew for at let 40 minutes longer than specified and the plantains were still tough.The habanero did not release any heat - I would slice it up next time. Nonetheless, it was a very tasty and interesting dish.


Being in the Caribbean, I have almost every ingredient super easily accessible. This is REALLY good. A super interesting way of using plantains. My notes: I did not use Yams, but I used local batatas. When I will do this again, I will cut the plantain smaller than recommended by the recipe. But that really is the only note I have for myself, cause it's really a great recipe. It also makes for amazing leftovers. This is really really nice. Definitely will make again.

Captain Wendy

We roasted the yams before adding them, this is a delicious modification.

Grace Shang

First of all, I love the concept of this recipe! I’m Nigerian and I love asaro but it can be quite heavy, so I love how this recipe kept all the key components and made it into such a light and delicious curry. I’ve made this curry and I plan on doing so again very soon! I added another scotch bonnet and prawns as well because I’m Yoruba loool and my mother would always add prawns to her asaro. It was so good, honestly I would really recommend it! I can’t wait for Yewande’s cook book!


Recipe aims more towards yams, but because we cannot get African yams in the U.S. (to my knowledge), she is about substitutes. As she writes in article, it "is an adaptation of [an African dish called] asaro," which is simply a dish of starchy root vegetables simmered in a tomato & chili based sauce. You could go with anything from the tuberous roots like sweet potato to yucca, to even tubers like potatoes or ube to taproots like turnips, carrot or parsnip. Just think starchy root vegetable.


An on-hand substitute for crispy shallots is dried onion flakes browned in oil.

Roni 62

Just made this and made a few changes first. Baked the sweet potatoes first the night before. added a 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds to the oil after taking the shallots out, added a 1/2 tsp each of ground Cumin and Coriander. This turned out great. Used the fresh basil, cilantro and fresh lime juice at the end. This was great, thanks for the recipe.


This was wonderful. Cooked as listed with no additions. Worth the wait and no shortcuts.


Cashew cream would work well for body and richness - soak a cup of raw unsalted cashews overnight, drain, then blend with enough fresh water to cover by an inch until smooth (stopping to scrape down the sides until it's not grainy). You can add more water if the soup is too thick with this cream.


Great recipe and I would definitely heed the advice of cutting the yam & plantain smaller to allow for shorter cooking time.

Hannah Rose

The plantains take much longer to cook than the yams; I cooked the stew at least 20 minutes longer than suggested and they still were under-cooked but the yams were falling apart tender so we pulled it off the heat. I would swap the sequence and add plantains first, then yams, and slice the plantains 1/2-1 inch thick. Great flavor!


I used water as the recipe said, and the dish turned out delicious. It has clean yet complex flavor. Using the same pot/oil as you used to cook shallots till caramelized, as the author says, really adds nice flavor, too.


This was very flavorful. I kept the lightly caramelized shallots in the pan rather than removing them and using as a garnish. Took other cooks' advice and chopped the yams and plantains smaller, maybe 3/4" max, and added plantains 10 minutes before yams. Added the kale with the yams so ii would cook down, not a fan of crisp-tender greens in stew. Only ingredients change I might make next time is to add a yellow plantain for a touch more sweetness. Spouse loved this, he had three bowls.


I made this as written with a few modifications. 1) I left out the caramelizing of the shallots to make my lipid profile happy. 2) I used store chopped sweet potatoes instead of yams 3) Based on others' recommendations, I sliced the plantains and then quartered each slice. The sweet potatoes and plantains were the same size and cooked well. 4) I chopped the habanero pepper - which added delightful heat. I probably won't be able to remove them so.....

Mardale Bee

Japanese (white) sweet potatoes are starchier than the orange or blue varieties and perfect here. I agree with those who found the recommended size of the plantain slices too large. Plus, I dislike really green plantains. I found just-turned yellow (without black spots) cooked in same amount of time as the sweet potatoes.


This isn’t one I would cook again. Cooked exactly as described, except with a Serrano pepper. It was too acidic, too blah, too meh. Way too much turmeric, for one - I would say use one teaspoon or use curry powder instead. It’s like medicinal-level. Agree with the comments to cut everything smaller; I would say, cube the yam and plantain into bite size pieces. Agree that prawns or fish sauce might help. My husband felt had to have rice with it as leftovers, worked better.

New Riff!

This time around I started with yellow sweet potato (not yam), and cooked it for ten minutes. Then I added one Japanese eggplant, four carrots, one small head of broccoli, and around 6 ounces of kale (measured four cups, chopped) all at the same time. This step took around 20 more minutes to cook. Also, for my spice preference, I removed the hot pepper around halfway through the cooking. I had to add more salt.I don’t now know what the name is of what I made, but it was delicious.

part deux

I used the light yellow “sweet potatoes,” the ones closer in texture to regular potatoes, not yams. Not growing up with this dish, I feel no loyalty to what the dish is “supposed” to be for the next iterations I’m going to try. I loved the flavors of the sauce and will use it as a base again! I’m going to add in broccoli and eggplant and maybe white potatoes. I’ll try using the light coconut milk next time, and I successfully used chopped canned tomatoes instead of whole ones.


I really liked this. Tasted the sauce along the way, and took the habanero out right before adding the coconut milk. Plenty of spice. I had to cook this much longer than the cooking times given for all veggies, at least three times longer. I also had to cover it at points because of too much evaporation since the cooking times were so far off. I don’t have experience cooking plantains, so that was fun to try! Light coco next time.What is the point of the red palm oil? Please someone tell me.


I used sweet potatoes, light coconut milk, over-ripe plantains and added a huge chunk of tamarind paste. It was delicious and it tasted even better the next day after the flavors had marinated.


I decided to just caramelize the shallots and leave them in the pot. Same with the chili. The plantains I used were very pale green, almost yellow, and I didn't have issues with longer cooking time that some others had. Added some chopped peanuts for serving for the crunch.

Michele Abadía Dalmau

I have made this several times, as written and it's delicious! This time I am adding a few taro roots and substituting 1 tsp of turmeric with 1 tsp of Cape Malay Curry powder.


Very tasty but takes wayyy longer than it says. With chopping and stewing etc, it took me over 2 hours.

Tom Kowalczyk

As others noted in terms of time, I took me more than 10 minutes to crisp the shallots, not the 5 mentioned in the recipe. If one doesn't have the time, one could opt to instead use pre-made shallot crisps available in most SE Asian markets


Honestly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made. A surprise because I thought ingredient list looked pretty familiar and similar to other recipes. Something holy happens here… much greater than some of its parts. Thank you so much Yewande!! P.s. a lot of Asian focused grocery stores sell prepackaged crunchy shallots or red onions and they are a delicious cheat!


This turned out so nicely! Added plantain to the pot at the same moment as the sweet potato; next time, I’ll probably cut the plantain pieces a bit smaller since they were still rather firm at the end of cooking. Added about 1 lb of cubed tilapia fillets seasoned with salt and pepper for the last 5 minutes of cooking to make a complete meal, and ate with rice for lunch. Excellent flavors!


This was delicious, but I couldn’t find dandelion greens. I substituted kale. The crispy shallots add such a nice crunch!

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Asaro (Yam and Plantain Curry) Recipe (2024)
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