I’m Gonna Mash That Yam Right Out-a My Hair

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Are you gonna Mash That Yam right out-a your hair this holiday season?!?

I'm Gonna Mash That Yam Right Out-a My Hair - mashed sweet potato recipe

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I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair is a song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific. The show, set on a South Pacific island in World War II, opened on Broadway in 1949 and won ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Libretto. It has since been made into two movie versions: the original in 1958 and an all new version in 2001 starring Glenn Close.

I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair is sung by the female lead, a young nurse named Nellie Forbush. She sings the song to the other nurses after she has decided to end her relationship with Emile, a man she has met only briefly.

Here at “Cabernet HQ”  it took the brainstorming team several attempts to get the right puns for this song. I won’t go into specifics but let’s just say that all ideas involving hares, mashing flans and splashing jam were quickly dealt with. Finally, “mash that yam” was suggested by Keith, and the idea was accepted – especially as it is very fitting for the time of year.

Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest something crazy. I’m NOT going to add any extra sweetness to this dish. No maple syrup, no brown sugar, no caramelized pecans, and definitely no marshmallows! I’ve been in the US for over seven years now, and the idea of super sweet side dishes just doesn’t appeal to me! Yams (or sweet potatoes, if you prefer) are – in my opinion – sweet enough.

That’s not to say I’m just going to mash some cooked yams and call it a day. Cinnamon is a lovely spice to add, especially in the later months of the year. The same goes for ginger and nutmeg. But this time I’m going for heat – and a little creaminess from Greek yogurt. It’s a wonderful combination – try it!

Peel the sweet potatoes (or yams, if you prefer), and cut them into 2″ pieces. Place them in a large saucepan and cover in water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking until the sweet potatoes are tender – which takes about 15 minutes.

Drain away the water, then tip the sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Add Greek yogurt, salt, black pepper, and some cayenne. Mash until smooth, then test for seasoning and add more if necessary. The sweet potatoes should be soft, slightly creamy, with a little kick from the cayenne.

Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes to a serving dish, and sprinkle over a little extra cayenne.

I'm Gonna Mash That Yam Right Outa My Hair - mashed sweet potato recipe

Note – if you can’t contemplate mashed yams without ginger, cinnamon and/or nutmeg – they would still work well if you added them. It just doesn’t HAVE to be that way. 🙂

Yield: 4-6

I’m Gonna Mash That Yam Right Outa My Hair

I’m Gonna Mash That Yam Right Outa My Hair


  • 2 lb sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 2" pieces
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • salt and black pepper
  • cayenne


  1. Place the prepared sweet potato into a large saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Place over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Drain and tip the potato into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients then mash until smooth.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle a little extra cayenne over the top.
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