Cream of Yam with Sugared Walnuts

Locale: China

Source: Irene Kuo, The Key to Chinese Cooking [p. 476]

Serves: 4-6


  • 1 lb small yams (sweet potato)
  • 1 piece ginger, 0.5 inch thick, smashed
  • 2 tbs sugar

Sugared walnuts:

  • 1 c walnuts, halves or broken pieces
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 c oil


  1. Select small, oblong-shaped yams, without the fibrous pointed ends. Peel yams, rinse, cut in half. Cover with 3 c cold water and bring to a boil with the ginger. Turn heat low, cover, simmer 30 minutes. Remove, place in bowl, mash, discarding any stringy fibers. Add 2 tbs sugar and stir until sugar disappears.

  2. Place nuts in a strainer; shake to rid them of any powdery residue. Put nuts in a large bowl. Cover with 1 c boiling water; soak for 3 minutes; pour into strainer and shake until water is drained off. Wipe bowl dry, return the nuts, toss with 3 tbs sugar until the sugar sticks. Spread nuts on a plate to cool.

  3. Heat deep fryer to 240F. Slide in nuts and deep fry for 3.5-4 minutes, stirring gently and constantly, until walnuts are carmelized. Do not deeply brown them -- makes them bitter. Remove from oil, spread on a plate or tray, separating. Let them cool and harden.

  4. Heat skillet over high heat; add 3 tbs oil, swirl, heat for 30 seconds. Add mashed yams and stir in pressing and turning motions for about 3 minutes, until mixture is hot and creamy. Pour into serving dish, smoothing into a mound. Cover top with half or all of the sugared walnuts.


  1. This was offered as a desert, although I've served it along with the main course.


  1. 2008-11-21: