How to Make Fresh Gluten-Free Pasta From African Yams

  • 01 of 10

    African Yams

    The African "Puna" Yam
    F. Muyambo

    African yams, root tubers, are native to West Africa but are also eaten in parts of Asia and South America. Yams are highly calorific and have a high starch content in comparison to potatoes. When yams are pounded, mashed vigorously, pulsed, pureed or kneaded, the starch in the cells are released and the result is not a mash, but a sticky, glutenous dough (very much like mashed potatoes gone gloopy). In West Africa, when not making a mashed yam dish, a sticky dough is the desired result and is known as fufu in some areas or simply as pounded yam. This glutenous consistency gave me the idea that yams could actually make fantastic gluten-free dough for making fresh pasta. 

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Ingredients for Gluten-Free Fresh Yam Pasta Dough

    Gluten-Free Fresh Yam Pasta Dough
    F. Muyambo

    To make the yam pasta dough, you will need the following ingredients:

    • 1 cup of mashed/milled cooked yam
    • 1 and 1/4 cup gluten-free rice flour
    • 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 4 eggs
    • Pinch of salt
    • Plenty of rice flour for dusting

    Tools Required: 

    • Sharp knife for peeling
    • Pot to boil the yam
    • ricer/mouli/box grater
    • mixing bowl
    • pasta machine or rolling pin
    • ravioli cutter
    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Prepare to Cook the Yams

    Peeled and sliced yam
    F. Muyambo

    Yams have a very thick, bark-like skin. Use a sharp knife instead of a potato peeler for the best results. Use a knife to peel the skin in the same way you would a butternut squash. Once peeled, chop the yam up into sizeable pieces (not too small) then place into a pot, rinse and fill with fresh tap water. Season with salt then place on the stove. Allow it to boil for 15 to 20 minutes until tender enough to slip a table knife into a piece with ease.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Mash Yams

    Grated Boiled African Yam
    F. Muyambo

    Once the yam pieces are cooked, it is time to mash them. For best results, and in order to avoid lumps, pass the yam pieces through a ricer or mouli. We do not have any of these tools, so we used a conventional grater and it yielded fantastic results. We grated enough to fill one cup required in this recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Measure out Ingredients for the Pasta Dough

    Mixing Rice Flour and Mashed Yam
    F. Muyambo

    In a clean bowl, add the mashed yam, rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, and cornstarch. Whisk the dry ingredients together to ensure they are mixed evenly, especially the xanthan gum.

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Add Eggs

    Add Eggs to Yam and Rice Flour
    F. Muyambo

    Add the eggs to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough has been formed.

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Knead for 5 Minutes

    Kneading Fresh Yam Pasta
    F. Muyambo

    On a generously floured surface (using gluten-free rice flour), knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Although the xantham gum acts like gluten, the dough will not be as elastic as normal pasta dough, but it is surprisingly robust.

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough (From African Yam)

    Gluten-Free Fresh Yam Pasta Dough
    F. Muyambo

    The gluten-free fresh pasta dough is now ready for rolling. You may either use a pasta machine or a simple rolling pin. If using the machine, use the second thinnest setting to avoid the pasta sheet from ripping; it is not as elastic as conventional pasta dough.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Ravioli Style Yam Pasta

    Ravioli Style Fresh Pasta (Yam Dough)
    F. Muyambo

    You may now use your gluten-free yam pasta dough to make your favorite pasta. We used mine to make ravioli.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Tagliatelle Style Yam Pasta

    Fresh Tagliatelle (Yam Pasta Dough)
    F. Muyambo

    You may now use your gluten-free yam pasta dough to make your favorite pasta. We also used mine to make tagliatelle.