A seasoning and protein source native to the SeneGambi region of West African, Yate seasoning is made from fermented and sundried freshwater snails.
The snails are removed from shells and cleaned thoroughly with the innards removed. The snail meat is then split in halves or quarters and packed in traditional jute leaf bags and placed in large fermentation drums. It remains in the drum for about 3 to 4 days, after which it is washed and laid out to sun dry over a raised platform that allows for air to circulate freely. It dries for a period of about 4 days.
Yate is dark brown in color and has a very strong and pungent smell. It is also packed with protein which increases due to the fermentation process. Like several traditional African seasonings, it adds an umami flavor to whatever dish it is added to. It adds that distinct smell and taste to traditional Senegal or Gambia dishes.
Yate must be frozen prior to use to improve the shelf life (it keeps indefinitely frozen) and to reduce the strong smell. A little goes a long way when using this seasoning, so use sparingly.