Dried Chinese Yam: 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Use

Dried Chinese Yam: 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Use

Dried Chinese Yam (山药), also known as Shao Yao, Cinnamon Vine or Dioscorea Opposita, is a simple but versatile herb used predominantly in Eastern cuisine. 

From simple but tasty salads, to candied sweet snacks, this herb is particularly easy to create delicious dishes with minimal ingredients or effort. 

So, get ready to yam-maze your friends and family with 5 quick and easy ways to use this herb... 

What is Dried Chinese Yam?

Having been used as a tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, this yam is a carbohydrate and nutrient dense herb.

It is an ornamental vine native to East Asia, and can be found across China, Japan, Korea, Kuril Islands, Philippines and Vietnam. It also now grows across some regions in North America. 

Growing up to 3 and 5 metres in size, the Chinese Yam is a deep persistent root which typically grows between September and October. In terms of texture, it possesses a slightly rough surface, with a sweet and bitter taste

What are the health benefits of Dried Chinese Yam?

Being a well-known herb across Chinese medicine, this ingredient has been used traditionally to help:

  • Control blood sugar levels
  • Assist women's reproductive health
  • Boost skin health
  • Benefit the kidney and spleen
  • Improve stomach, lungs and blood
  • Assist with fatigue, digestion, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help control estrogen levels in the body 
  • Dispel common cold symptoms
  • Promote weight loss
  • Improve sexual health and wellness 

So now that you're well equipped with the potential of Dried Chinese Yam, here's 5 quick and easy ways to include this in your everyday routine...

1) Raw Form

Simple and clean - Dried Chinese Yam makes for a light healthy snack as an alternative to your usual mid-morning chocolate bar (don't even think about eating it now, we're watching)

Just a handful of this herb is a perfect portion for you to enjoy! 

    2) Candied Yams

    Putting an Eastern twist on a Caribbean classic, these are a delightful sweet tooth sensation!   

    Here's how to make your own candied yams... 

    What You'll Need

    • 1 large bowl of chopped yams (into circles)
    • 1 cup of brown sugar
    • 1 cup of white sugar
    • 2 knobs of butter
    • Pinch of ground cinnamon
    • Dash of soy sauce 
    • Pinch of salt


    1. Fry the first knob of butter in a pan with the white sugar over a low heat until mixed
    2. Add the brown sugar and stir in into all ingredients have combined (continue to stir throughout)
    3. Place the chopped yams in a deep oven tray, and cover with the butter and sugar mixture
    4. Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon, soy sauce and salt on top to glisten the yams
    5. Chop up the second knob of butter into small thin cubes and dot around the yams 
    6. Bake in the oven at Gas Mark 4 (160 degrees c) for 30-45 minutes
    7. Remove after this time and allow to stand for 5 minutes
    8. Serve and enjoy!
    9. Transfer to a glass, then serve and enjoy!

    3) Chinese Yam & Okra Salad

    Perfect for a summer's day, salad season is well underway and this is a strong option for those who love a natural taste packed full of flavour... 

    What You'll Need

    • 1 large bowl of long sliced yams 
    • 1 cup of shredded okra 
    • 3 spring onions
    • Dash of soy sauce
    • Pinch of salt 


    1. Wash the Chinese yams and then place in a separate bowl
    2. Add the cup of shredded okra on top
    3. Slice the spring onions into small pieces and garnish the salad on top 
    4. Add a dash of soy sauce to give your salad some extra flavour 
    5. Season with a pinch of salt to complete 
    6. Serve and enjoy!

    4) Chinese Yam Herb Soup

    Bringing together a sweet and savoury combination of ingredients, this is a great warmer when you need a natural pick-me-up... 

    What You'll Need

    • 2 pork legs (steam cooked)
    • 3-4 big jujube dates
    • 2 Chinese Yams
    • Handful of goji berries
    • 2 chopped shiitake mushrooms 
    • Pinch of salt 
    • Pot of boiling water 


    1. Add the steamed pork legs to the pan of boiled water, then add the rest of the ingredient and allow to simmer on a low heat for 1 hour 
    2. Add a pinch of salt just before the end of simmering, and stir gently for a further 5 minutes
    3. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes 
    4. Serve and enjoy! 

    5) Chinese Yam Powder (for smoothies, shakes etc)

    Calling all gym bunnies, this is one you surely won't want to miss.

    Here's how to create a yummy powdered form to maximise your gains... 

    What You'll Need

    • 2 large Chinese Yams
    • 1 wall-breaker machine / blender


    1. Boil the yams in a pot to allow them to soften
    2. Once soft, allow to cool for around 1 minute
    3. Pour the yams into a wall-breaker/blender
    4. Select the 'smooth ice' or 'blend well' function
    5. Blend well until powdered
    6. Remove and serve with any smoothie, protein drink, water etc! 

    Where can I buy Dried Chinese Yams?

    You can get hold of Dried Chinese Yam in the following quantities:

    Dried Chinese Yam 山药 (Shan Yao) | (500g)

    Dried Chinese Yam 山药 (Shan Yao) | (100g)


    Now that you've got some scrumptious ideas of how to use this versatile herb, we're excited to see you impress your friends and family with your cooking skills!

    Shop DaoDi Culinary Herbs Here

    For any further queries regarding our natural herbal supplements or any of our products, please email info@vitaherbalnutrition.com and we'll be happy to help. 

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