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Oto (Mashed Yams with Red Onions) from Ghana

This celebratory dish is important in many Ghanaian homes, especially to celebrate weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies. Made by mashing yams with palm oil and onions, you can easily make this dish for a taste of Ghana at home.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Ghana
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 725kcal


  • Large Pot
  • Medium Nonstick Pan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife


  • 3 Yams peeled and cubed
  • ¼ cup Red Palm Oil
  • 1 Red onion finely diced
  • 1 Shrimp bouillon cube I substituted chicken as I couldn’t find shrimp
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2-3 Hard boiled eggs


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 3 peeled and cubed yams and boil until fork tender. Strain the water out of the pot. Then place the yams in a large bowl, and mash.
  • In the meantime, heat ¼ cup red palm oil in a pan over medium heat. Add 1 diced red onion to the oil and allow the onions to caramelize. Once caramelized, add 1 shrimp bouillon cube and continue stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Add oil and onion mixture to the mashed yams. Mix to combine until the yam turns a bright yellow color. Season with sea salt to taste.
  • Peel the 2-3 hard boiled eggs and place the entire eggs on top of the pot of yams. Serve and enjoy!


Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 
  • Yams: If you can get ahold of Ghanaian yams, that would be your best option. The second best option is a smaller yam (aka white sweet potatoes), more commonly found in American grocery stores. As a last result, you can use sweet potatoes! 
  • Bouillon Cubes: Shrimp bouillon is most common for Oto, but you can also use chicken instead if necessary
  • Oil: Use red palm oil for this recipe. I like Nutiva’s Palm Oil because it is fair trade and ethically sourced. In a pinch you can sub coconut oil instead.
  • Generally you can make one egg per person eating
  • If you want to season the oil before frying, you can briefly fry a bay leaf to give the oil some flavor
  • Sometimes this recipe is shown as made with plantains instead of yams. Both are valid! 
  • This dish is sometimes served with roasted peanuts and avocado slices to make it a well-rounded and filling meal. 
  • Red Palm Oil has a very low smoking point (302 degrees Fahrenheit), so you don’t need to turn the heat up high on the stove when cooking the onions. A medium heat should do the trick.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 725kcal | Carbohydrates: 121g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 399mg | Potassium: 3527mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 754IU | Vitamin C: 75mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 3mg