Oto (Mashed Yam Patties)


Puna yam (not to be confused with sweet potato) is the star of this Ghanaian dish often served on wedding days. Puna yams are starchy; it's essential to avoid overcooking them in order to make shaping the patties easier. Their unique texture and flavor make them worth seeking out for this recipe; see sourcing info below.

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins


  • 6 cups peeled and chopped (1/2-inch pieces) puna (Ghana) yam (from 1 [2-pound] yam)

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup red palm oil 

  • 3 ½ tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon corn flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 5 soft-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise

  • Thinly sliced seeded fresh Anaheim chiles

  • Torn fresh cilantro leaves

  • Thinly sliced red onion


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Add chopped yam and brown sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Drain and return yam to pot. Using a potato masher, mash yam while still steaming. Add red palm oil, canola oil, thyme, garlic, corn flour, and salt. Mash until mixture is fully combined, smooth, and evenly colored, about 5 minutes. Let mixture stand at room temperature until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

  2. Divide yam mixture evenly into 10 pieces (about 3 1/2 ounces each). Shape each piece into a 3/4-inch-thick, 3-inch-wide patty.

  3. Heat a large pan over medium, and add canola oil to a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Add 5 patties to hot oil; fry until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer cooked patties to a rimmed baking sheet or a platter, and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm while cooking remaining patties. Repeat process with additional oil and remaining patties. Top patties with soft-cooked eggs; sprinkle with chiles, cilantro, and onion.

    Oto (Mashed Yam Patties)
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen


Find puna yams and red palm oil at specialty food markets, or order from olasfoodsmarket.com.

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