Yam chips are snacks made from sweet potatoes that are sliced thin and cooked with flavorings until crispy. They are often considered a healthier alternative to regular potato chips because yam chips have less starch and saturated fat. Preparing yams for chips can entail baking or frying, depending on different recipes and the cook's preference. The chips are usually flavored with salt and other spices such as garlic or chili powder. While yam chips are frequently eaten as a snack food, they can also sometimes be included as garnishes in other dishes such as ceviches or salads.
The terms yams and sweet potatoes are often used interchangeably to refer to the same vegetable. Cooking with yams is popular among people who are reducing the amounts of starch and fat in their diets. Yams are noted for their high levels of vitamin A, and they are good sources of fiber. They also have lower amounts of carbohydrates than potatoes. Mashed or baked yams can easily substitute for potato side dishes, and yam chips can be easily made at home in a similar manner to potato chips from scratch.
Many recipes for yam chips call for the sweet potatoes to first be washed, peeled, and sliced into thin, round pieces. Some cooks prefer to cut square or rectangular pieces to cook into chips, and this option works just as well. Baked yam chips are generally coated with salt and cooking oil before being placed on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes per chip side. The average baking temperature for this option is around 375° F (about 190° C).
Fried yam chips are another option, though they can sometimes contain more fat, depending on the type of oil used. Some cooks prefer to use canola oil, while others use palm or coconut oil. These kinds of sweet potato chips can be made in either a deep fryer or a medium to large cooking pot, depending on the size of the recipe batch. Once the chips are sufficiently cooked, they are then ladled out of the hot oil with a fryer basket or perforated cooking spoon and set on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Many cooks find that they get the best flavor from sprinkling salt and spices over still-hot yam chips just out of the fryer.