Chinese Yam (Fresh)

by | Jan 4, 2009 | Ingredients | 4 comments

Ingredient Name:

Fresh Chinese Yam, Nagaimo, Yamaimo, Japanese Mountain Yam,  Korean Yam, Dioscorea Opposita

Traditional Chinese Name:

淮山 (huái shān)

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This is the fresh version of the Chinese Yam, which is a white long root with a brown outer skin.  When fresh, the Chinese Yam is usually a thick white root that narrows down and has an outer brownish-yellow skin and a white interior.  It is tasteless, produces no colour in the soup, and is one of the common Chinese Soup pantry ingredients.  It’s used in soups, stews, and sometimes even desserts!  There are a few variety of these types of Chinese Yams, including a fresh Japanese variant, which is just as yummy in soups.

When handling Japanese Yam, do wear gloves.  The Yam itself is slippery and produces a milky substance once you peel it.  The milky substance can also make your hands itchy, so I will always wear gloves when I’m handling this root.

The root itself is very neutral and great for both warming and cooling soups.  This root tends to absorb the flavour of the soup and is to be eaten as part of the meal if you like starchy foods.  If you do keep it too long in the soup though, it will disintegrate.  I will use both dried and fresh version of this in a lot of the soups here!  A great ingredient overall! 

How do I prepare it?

          • If you’re buying the fresh root, rinse with cool water first
          • Wearing gloves, you can peel the skin off and you’ll feel a slippery, white film from the root
          • Then rinse under running water to remove as much of the white film as possible before cutting
          • On a clean cutting board, I will cut these into large 2-inch cubes so they don’t disintegrate that easily into the soup

Any benefits?

      • It is often used in combination with meats and other Chinese herbs to help digestion and regular sugar levels
      • Traditionally it is used to relieve stomach pains and diarrhea
      • When boiled with chicken and a variety of other Chinese herbs, it is an ideal confinement soup as it helps control inflammation of the uterus

Any precautions?

  • For some people, touching raw Chinese Yam will make their hands itchy – be sure to wear gloves as you peel the skin, wash and prep the root
  • Excess consumption is known to cause frequent urination and perspiration

Example of how to prepare Chinese Yam in this soup video

Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

This is a great starter video to build our your basic Chinese soup pantry.  A handful of these ingredients are actual amazing with one simple chicken.  It’s your basic Chicken Herbal Soup here!



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