Spiced Yam and Labneh


Preparation info

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By Sally Butcher

Published 2014

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I suppose I take yams for granted, living in such a wonderfully mixed part of London. But it is impossible to overstate their importance in some parts of the world where they are a staple crop. In his wonderful book Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe writes ‘Yam stood for manliness, and he who could feed his family on yams from one harvest to another was a very great man indeed’.

This is one of those great little dishes that live a double life posing as something else when you’re not looking. It works not only as a dip, but also as a rather nice puréed ‘salad’ to go with hot food and a sandwich spread. Strictly speaking, it is a double dip, as I serve the yam and the labneh separately: I started doing this originally to cater for vegans, but to be honest the two distinctive layers of flavour are more interesting (and a lot prettier) than if I had just lobbed it all in together.

If you can’t find yam, sweet potato makes a dandy stand-in (and in fact little distinction is made in the US).