Yam Pad Thai

This is one of those really strange recipes I find myself drawn to for its unique blend of ingredients. I love the surprise "fusion" recipes bring and incorporate them into my menus as much as possible.  Yam Pad Thai takes this lowly tuber into brand new territory.  Although not all of my family is in love with this dish, I have had non-Yam eaters call the day after trying it at my home and ask for the recipe.  

The title was originally Warm Sweet Potato Salad.  I much prefer yams and quickly substituted them.  Then my friend in Seattle renamed it Yam Pad Thai after making it for her family - a title much more descriptive of how it tastes - and the name stuck.  I have often been asked the difference between a Sweet Potato and  a Yam.  My standard answer is that the Sweet Potato is a lighter colour, less sweet, dryer and usually smaller.  The Yam is a deep orange, moister, sweeter, can grow quite large and when roasted, the natural juices caramelize. Turns out I was wrong.  It came to my attention recently that the Sweet Potato has varieties that are also a dark orange and can be quite similar.  In fact most stores are selling just Sweet Potatos.  They label the light ones correctly and the dark orange ones Yams.   It looks like I've been fooled all these years.  For this salad, just make sure you pick the luscious dark orange ones.

These are actually both sweet potatos!
I have served this warm or at room temperature and have eaten leftovers cold the next day.  I think my preference is slightly warm - not hot.  There is something wonderful about the aroma of warm food and if it's not too hot you can taste the unique blend of flavours better. A really large Yam is about 2 pounds - so how many you have to buy really depends on the size. 

I have only had one problem making this and that's over cooking the yams.  I keep thinking if I roast them a bit longer they will crisp up like Yam Fries.  What usually happens is they get too soft and are mushy when mixed in with the other ingredients.  So err on the side of just done.  As I prefer so julienne them instead of cubing because I like the final look of the salad better, it is extremely easy to over cook them.   

YAM PAD THAI (published as Warm Sweet Potato Salad)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2 lbs. peeled Deep Orange Yams in ½” chunks (I julienne sometimes)
1T Oil
1/2Tsp ea. salt and pepper
1 ea. sliced small red pepper
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup sliced green onion
2 T Chopped peanuts

1/3 cup peanut butter
2T ea. Lime Juice and Mayo (can use Vegannaise instead for dairy free)
1 tsp ea **Chipotle hot sauce, sugar, and minced gingerroot
1/2Tsp. Minced Garlic
**Note – Some of my family doesn't like it too hot so I substitute chipotle salsa for the hot sauce which is more like tabasco.

Toss sweet potatos with oil, salt and pepper.  Spray a piece of foil with pan, add potatos and roast for 40 min turning. Cooking time will depend on your oven and the size you cut the yams.  Try not to overcook as they will mush when blending with the other ingredients.  Let cool 5 min.

Wisk the dressing ingredients. Toss potatos, pepper, bean sprouts and green onion with dressing. Sprinkle with peanuts.  Serve warm, room temperature or cold the next day.