Diagaku Imo or candied sweet potatoes is a famous snack in Japan. I first tasted this hooking snack at a small & homely Japanese restaurant called Inaho in Nottinghill, London. This was served in a tapas size bowl, as a side dish. It is an absolute love at first bite. With just a few ingredients and an easy cooking method, I have served this on many family occasions.
I have served them on skewers for a BBQ night and on a bread platter with cold ice tea on a hot summer day. And because of its sweetness it has been popular among my little nieces and nephews and have always fetched me numerous “yum yum” and “I want some more”.
So here is how to prepare it….
Ingredients:- (serves 4)
- 2 large satsuma potatoes (red skin, yellow flesh sweet potatoes)
- 2 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp soya sauce ( I used kikoman)
- ½ cup of water
*Mirin, an important Japanese ingredient, is a sweet, low-alcohol wine made from glutinous rice. I don’t worry about using Mirin in a child’s meal because alcohol has a low boiling temperature so by heating it you can cook it out of a dish. However, if you are still not comfortable, a good nonalcoholic substitute for mirin is rice wine vinegar. Use 1 tablespoon vinegar and a 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar for every 1 tablespoon of mirin.
Peel & cut the potatoes into bite size chunks.
Then soak these in a big bowl of water. This will wash away some of the potato starch.
Place a clean cloth on your kitchen slab and spread out the potatoes on this.
Use another clean cloth to wipe them dry.
In a wide headed pan spread out the potatoes & pour enough “COLD” cooking oil to cover the potatoes. We use cold oil so that the inside and outside of the potatoes cook at the same temperature making the crunchiness even.
Fry on medium high for about 20 minutes or till it turns golden brown.
When the potatoes are almost ready, start preparing the syrup. Place a small pot on low heat.
Add the ready ingredients – sugar, mirin, soya sauce and water. Give it a good stir and leave it to boil.
Once you see bubbles on the sides of the pot, use a spatula to check the consistency of the syrup. You will know it is done when the syrup looks like Honey. Turn off gas.
For the last & most important bit – of putting things together; pierce 4 or 5 potato chunks onto each skewer. Pour the syrup generously over the potatoes while rotating the skewer so all sides gets candied well. Lastly, sprinkle a good amount of sesame seeds for a touch of savory.
Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back after your plate has been wiped clean (within minutes). Enjoy!