Candied Sweet Potatoes


This is my own twist on a traditional Japanese sweet potato snack called Daigaku Imo, which involves deep-frying chunks of sweet potato and coating them with a sweet syrup.


Satsuma Sweet Potato, 1 large
oil for deep-frying

for the sauce:

water, 1/3 cup
sugar, 1/4 cup
butter, 1 or 2 Tablespoons
fresh ginger root, 1/2 teaspoon grated
dried seedless dates, 5 or 6, chopped
walnuts, 2 Tablespoons, chopped

Scrub the potato clean, and wipe dry with a clean kitchen towel, but do NOT peel. Cut off the two tough ends. Cut the rest of the potato into 2.5 inch-long, thickish matchsticks.


Heat enough oil in a medium-sized, deep-sided pot to cover the sweet potato sticks. But make sure to fry the potato sticks in batches that won’t pile upon each other in the pot. Fry for about 3 minutes, or until the potato sticks are tender but not soft. Test with one or two to make sure. They have to still be tough enough to handle being tossed in the sauce without breaking. Take the sweet potato sticks out of the oil and drain them on a rack, and then spread them out on paper towels.


Meanwhile put all the sauce ingredients into a clean frying pan or pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer the sauce until it thickens and gets syrupy. Turn off the heat. Immediately throw the fried sweet potato sticks into the sauce and stir gently so as to coat the potatoes thoroughly with the sauce. Turn out onto a serving dish.


As it cools, the syrupy coating on the sweet potato sticks hardens a little like candy. The ginger gives it a really nice depth of flavor. But I can imagine it tasting good with cinnamon or other substitutions as well.


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