|A pound of African yam|
1/2 cup dzomi oil or palm oil
2 eggs (or 1 per person to serve),
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste),
1 onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
20 minutes minutes
30 minutes minutes
Oto, a sacred dish made from hard-boiled eggs, mashed yam, and palm oil, is an Akan as well as a Ga tradition. Oto is commonly served at the naming ceremony for a new baby (an "outdooring") or the purification of the mother after birth; at puberty ceremonies for girls; at festivals associated with twins, whom the Akan and Ga people consider sacred; at special occasions after the birth of the third, seventh or tenth child of the same sex (sacred numbers in the Akan and Ga cultures); at harvest celebrations; after the first and third weeks of deaths in a family, when not only family members eat oto, but the house is sprinkled with oto to satisfy the dead; and on special days in the Akan calendar known as "Bad Days" or Dabone.
Boil the eggs, peel, and set aside.
Wash, peel and slice the yam, cutting off any bad spots.
Cut the yam in half lengthwise, then slice it into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
Put the slices in a medium-size pot and cover the yam with water. Add a teaspoon of salt, cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for about 15 minutes, depending on how thick the yam slices are.
While the yam is cooking, chop the onion. Heat the palm oil in a pan (add a slice of onion, or ginger or bay leaf first and fry briefly to season the oil, then remove it) and add the chopped onion to the oil and fry it briefly. Use dzomi, or the best quality palm oil you can find. Remove from heat.
Drain the yam and put it into an asanka or other bowl and mash with a wooden masher or potato masher then mix it with a wooden spoon. Do not mash the yam as thoroughly as you would potatoes. One does not want a paste or a smooth "whipped" mass, but a denser, more textured one.
Continue to mash the yam as you add the palm oil and onion mixture into the bowl (switching to a fork may make it easier to blend without smashing it).
Garnish with an egg for each person.
Oto is best served hot!