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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Japanese Glazed Sweet Potatoes Recipe (Daigaku-imo)

Fall in Japan brings to mind sweet potatoes and one of my all time favorite and simple sweet potato dishes is the Japanese glazed sweet potatoes, Daigaku-imo(大学芋), literally "University potatoes".This dish first became popular as a cheap, easy to make snack for university students. It was originally sold at food stalls at University campus fall festivals in Japan. They're small pieces of fried sweet potato covered in a hard carmel sugar coating. They're basically candied yams. In Japan, they use a kind of syrup called mizuame, "sweet water"(水飴). You can use corn syrup or even honey instead. Some recipes call for only honey, others only sugar(3 Tbsp.), but using sugar and syrup is best to make the fine, brittle, carmel coating. Ideally, they should be a little bit crunch on the outside.  If making more, simply multiply ingredients per how many potatoes. This is definitely not a diet food, but perfect to satisfy that sweetooth. Please enjoy this simple fall dish. 

Serves 1-2


  • 1 sweet potato(satsuma-imo, purple/reddish skin and yellow inside)
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. corn syrup (or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • black sesame


  1. Wash potatoes. You can peel or leave the peel on. Leaving the peel is more esthetically pleasing, but personally, I think they taste better without the peel. A compromise is to peel half the potato in alternating strips. Cut potato into 1 inch wedges and soak in water for 5-10 minutes to remove excess starch. Drain and pat dry.
  2. Heat oil in a pan to about 340F/170ºC. Deep frying is best, but not absolutely necessary. Fry potato wedges in oil about 5 minutes until thoroughly cooked and golden brown.
  3. In the meantime, combine sugar, corn syrup, and soy sauce in a small pan. Cook  over medium heat until mixture is completely dissolves and is syrupy.
  4. Remove cooked potatoes, drain off oil and mix into the syrup pan immediately. Mix thoroughly so all pieces are covered with the hot syrup. 
  5. Sprinkle on black sesame and serve.

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