Yam and Plantain Cakes

Don’t worry this isn’t the dessert kind of cake, and I’m on a break from baking. This is a savoury dish as I am not sure yams and plantains are quite the right ingredients combined to make a great dessert and have people drooling over it! This is one of many dishes I have been working on and created for my supper club, Cham Cham.

I spent last weekend doing a load of recipe development and taste testing, with my family attending as the official Nim’s Din. Tasting Committee, of course.

Nim's Din. taste testing commitee

And boy were my family spoilt for choice!!   I made yam and sweet potato crisps, jacato babagnoush, pepper chicken crackling, check rice with krain krain (you may know this as molohiya or jute leaves) and yam and plantain cakes. It was a real Sunday feast, with a roast chicken thrown in for good measure, that all my family enjoyed and gave the seal of approval for all the items to make it onto the Cham Cham menu.   My niece and nephew included, until my nephew got overly excited by all the food and mistakenly tucked into the some ground up scotch bonnet…..eeekk, ouch!!!

Pepper chicken crackling, jacato babaganoush and sweet potato and yam chips

Pepper chicken crackling, jacato babaganoush and sweet potato and yam chips

I have never really been that keen on yams. In the form of fufu when it is made with yams instead of cassava, I can just about deal with it, but simply boiled …. You know how some of us have memories of their grandmas boiling their cabbage to death that you can smell it 5 doors down, before you even get to your front door? Well, that is EXACTLY what my grandma did with yams. Boiled them and sometimes cremating them after all the water had disintegrated. Ha! This is what I always think about when I see yams.

Yams are to Africans what potatoes are to the Irish, a staple food. Well rice is too but that is another blog post and discussion.

I used the white yam on the left as I was advised when buying it that this was the best type to boil. I used there other on the left to make the yam chips.

I used the white (puna) yam on the left as I was advised,when buying it, that this was the best type to boil. I used the other on the right to make the yam chips.

They are a lot more dense and drier than a potato – not initially when you remove the skin as there is a starchy film covering the yam that you rinse off before cooking, and then pat dry – but like a potato needs some jazzing up. So I thought it would work well with my Mama’s Gravy (sorry, not sure if I can share that recipe just yet…I’ll need to ask for my Mama’s approval) as an alternative to the breaded trotters that are on the menu at Cham Cham in April, and that is how I came up with this wonderful dish of yam and plantain cakes.

It’s truly a tasty dish, with a crisp rice flour coating and then a moist, zingy and sweet centre from the wonderful combination of the plantains and ginger.   And teamed with Mama Saga’s Gravy it works beautifully….but until I am allowed to share that recipe with you, try it with a simple side of cherry tomatoes with some lime juice and rapeseed olive or some CHAM CHAM Hot Pepper Sauce.



Yam and plantain cakes 3

The prep. part – makes 8

  • 500g yam, chopped up to boil
  • 2cm ginger, peeled
  • 1 plantain, ripe and peeled
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 leaves from a bunch of spinach, washed
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • Rice flour to dust the cakes before frying


The cooking/assembling part

  • Place the yam in a pan with water and bring to the boil. This should take about 20 minutes to cook.
  • While the yam is cooking place all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blitz until are all chopped up and mixed in together. If you don’t have a food processor then finely chop the ginger, roughly chop the spinach and in a bowl mash the plantain with a fork and then mix in all the ingredients together. The mixture will be quite wet but will bind together once the yams are added.
Blitzed plantains, spinach, cumin and ginger

Blitzed plantains, spinach, cumin and ginger

  • When the yams are cooked, drain the water, mash and allow to cool.
  • Once cool the yams are cool, which should take about 10 minutes to do so, mix together the mixture blitzed together in a bowl.
  • Now divide the mixture in to 8 and form the cakes, first lightly dusting your hands with a little of the rice flour.
  • Once you have formed a good round disc, lightly dust each side in the rice flour to give it a little coating and place on greaseproof paper.
  • Place a frying pan on a medium heat. Once the pan is hot add the coconut oil and 2 mins after place the cakes in the pan.
  • Cook the cakes 4 – 5 on each side for them crisp up and get nicely golden brown.
  • Serve!



2 thoughts on “Yam and Plantain Cakes

  1. Ann Marie Dawson

    Very impressive, Nims; what a pity I am across the ocean. I would have been a very productive member of your tasting committee. LOL.


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