Over the years we’ve had different contests just to find out the number one swallow in existence, Amala holds that position. Solidly behind this glorious swallow is our very own ‘iyan’. Swallows like Semo and Fufu are just plagiarised copies of this meal in focus.
‘Iyan’ also known as pounded yam is a staple food common among the Ijesha people of Osun state and the people of Ondo and Ekiti state in Nigeria. It is more common in Ijesha due to the presence of fertile land for planting of yam.
The entire process of the production of this meal starts from harvesting of fresh yam or buying from the market, either ways we’re still harvesting fresh yam. It is peeled and washed before it’s cut to huge chunks to aid boiling. The yam is boiled to a particular level of perfection; not too hard, not too soft.
Now to the careful kneading of the boiled yam with the ‘odó’ and ‘omo odó’ (mortal and pestle in English language). It is also known as pounding yam.
After each hit by the pestle, the yam is kneaded to give it an overall smooth appearance and soft surface. Several chunks of yam are pounded.
Pounded yam can be eaten with a wide variety of soups including black soup, egusi, bitter leaf soup, ila ilasepo, efo riro and so on. ‘Efo Riro’ (Vegetable soup) is the recommended soup for this superb meal. It is a Yoruba soup prepared by mixing fried pepper and vegetable leaf with proteins (meat and fish) and most importantly, Ponmo. It has a peppery but very delicious taste.
Let’s talk about the beauty of this magnificent meal. The pounded yam itself gives a plain background colour, efo riro gives colour to this meal. Red for pepper, green for the vegetable, brownish colour for the meats and ponmo. Nutrients found in this meal include; vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium and sodium amongst others.
The peculiarity of the taste makes it different from poundo yam, it’s advisable not to interchange their names. Poundo yam is a preprocessed version, you only add water and prepare it like other swallows. Pounded yam involves your strength and natural abilities, it is superior in taste.
Pounded yam is one of the most beautiful meals to grace the earth, you need to try it. Highly recommended for parties and lunch dates.
Restrain from slandering it but you can slander poundo yam. Enjoy your ‘iyan’ and be happy.