The last two posts talk about sweet potatoes, and today’s post is, as a matter of fact, dedicated to friendly purple sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be transformed into savory or sweet. This recipe of daigaku-imo is very popular among all generation including my foreign friends.
Daigaku-imo is usually deep-fried and coated sweet potatoes with sugar, in other words, glazed sweet potatoes. My recipe doesn’t deep fry sweet potatoes. Instead, I grill on a pan with little sesame oil or olive oil.
Here is little history of daigaku-imo. According to the Japanese Wikipedia, one story says that once upon a time, there was the confectionery store in front of Tokyo University, selling fukashi-imo, steamed sweet potatoes. In Taisyo Era, 100 years ago from today, students at Tokyo University were such a big fan of daigaku-imo that was affordable and perfect for hungry students. By the way, daigaku means university and imo is sweet potato.
The another story says that Waseda University also claimed that their students were the ones that made daigaku-imo popular. No concrete evidence remained to prove which university was the birthplace of daigaku-imo.
*Daigaku-Imo (for 2-3)*
Benefits for: constipation, loss of appetite, filling yang qi (positive energy)
2 sweet potatoes (medium size)
1 tablespoon sesame oil or olive oil
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce (optional, not added here)
- Wash up sweet potatoes and leave skin on. Cut into rectangular stripes (about 1.5cm stripes).
- Microwave striped sweet potatoes with sprinkle of water for about 5 minutes.
- Heat oil on a pan, place stripes, and bake each side of stripes gently. Stop the heat and transfer stripes onto a plate.
- In another pan, add water and sugar (if you want to add soy sauce, add now). Caramelize the water (Caramelizing means here that you don’t need to make an exact caramel. If this caramel-like sauce is too sticky and too tough, it would be very hard to cover stripes later in the pan).
- Add baked stripes and cover stripes with caramel-like sauce.
FYI, adding soy sauce will enrich the sweetness of caramel-like sauce and become a more savory type of snack. Black sesame seeds can be a great garnish on the top of daigaku-imo, which I didn’t have at moment, unfortunately.