I can’t say that I liked the taste of yams at first bite, in fact I became fond of them slowly through the years.  The reason  why I was not particularly enthusiastic about them was because I only saw them prepared on Thanksgiving day and generally they were too sweet for my taste because of all the sugar that is added to them.  So it took me a little while, but now I love both yams and sweet potatoes!

There seems to always be a confusion between yams and sweet potatoes as people confuse them often. Ironically, while they look somewhat similar, they are not remotely related as they belong to two different plant families.  Sweet potatoes come in three different colors, but generally speaking their color is lighter than yams’ bright orange color.

Today’s recipe is my own version of twice baked yams. It is not too sweet, it’s easy to make, and makes for a perfect side dish that can be prepared a day ahead, and of course it’s appealing to a Persian palate.

This recipe serves 4, however, you can easily duplicate the amounts according to your guest list.


2 yams, preferably on the chubby side
1 tbsp butter
3 oz Feta cheese
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425º.  In the mean time scrub yams clean and dry completely. Pierce yams with a fork in order to release steam so that they won’t burst.  Bake for one hour until tender.

Once they are baked cut each yam in half lengthwise.

Scoop the flesh out carefully making sure to leave behind about 1/4 inch around each shell.

Place shells cut side up on a rack and bake for another 15 minutes until crisp.

In a bowl mash the yams with a potato masher.

Add a touch of salt, butter, 2 ounces of Feta cheese and pepper.  Mix well.

Scoop mashed yams back into the shells. Top each yam half with the remaining 1 oz of feta cheese, add walnuts on top, and finish with a sprinkle of brown sugar.  Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese just about melts.

These twice baked yams are delicious when nice and hot, but they are equally delicious at room temperature.

Thanksgiving Recipes 2011

Purée ~ Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving Recipes from 2009 & 2010

Pumpkin Khoresht
Rice Stuffing
Brussels Sprouts Persian Style
Beet & Pomegranate Salad
Butternut Squash & Prune Khoresht
How to Brine Turkey
Pomegranate & Port Glazed Turkey
Pomegranate Gravy
How to Make Turkey Stock