Daigakuimo Imo is a healthy Japanese snack that both adult and children in Japan cannot resist. They are only made out of all-natural ingredients and fit in many healthy food category: organic, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free.
What is Daigaku Imo??
“Daigaku Imo” translates literally to “University Sweet Potato“. I know what you’re thinking- “What does University have to do with Sweet Potato?!“. Well, back in around the 50s-60s Japan was in a state of recession.
In order to afford expensive University fees a Japanese student attending the prestigious Tokyo University created this snack to sell to make some profit. Back then, sweet potatoes were cheaply available from China.
What’s are the ingredients?
The main ingredient is the nutritional power house, Sweet Potato of course! The sweet potato variety used for making Daigakuimo is known as “Satsuma-Imo” in Japan. It was introduced to Kyusyu island (Kagoshima prefecture used to be called Satsuma province in Kyusyu Island) from China. 80% of total production of Satuma-Imo is produced in the area.
Satuma Imo have purple skin and an off-white colour flesh. I can buy those variety from local supermarkets and fresh produce farmers markets in Australia. When they are cooked, the flesh becomes a striking yellow colour. Those sweet potatoes have great texture and flavour and is the best suit for candied sweet potato.
I don’t recommend using orange coloured sweet potato. I have tried those varieties too, but they become soggy when it is cooked. Orange coloured sweet potato has more moisture content than purple sweet potato.
Is Daigaku Imo really Healthy?
Yes! Daigaku Imo is usually deep-fried and coated in a mixture of sugar and water to create a crystallized outer coating. However, since I have quit sugar and want to keep this snack healthy, I have substituted the sugar for rice malt syrup and I fry them in a pan rather than deep-frying them. Sweet potato is also lower in GI than regular potatoes and contain lots of fiber, so this is my guilt-free, wholesome snack that satisfies those sweet cravings.
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Candied Sweet Potato (Daigaku imo in Japanese) recipe
- 500 g Japanese purple sweet potato
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Rice malt syrup
- 1/4 tsp Black sesame seeds
Wash the sweet potato and chop it into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skin on. Then soak it in water for 30 minutes.
Drain out the water and remove the excess water with a paper towel.
Cook the sweet potato in a frying pan on low-medium heat and coat it with the rice malt syrup and olive oil.
Cook the sweet potato for approximately 15 minutes, occasionally turning the potatoes as it cooks, until the sweet potatoes are soft and have become covered with a sticky coating.
Serve it on a plate and sprinkle with the black sesame seeds.
*Rice malt syrup can be replaced with same amount of honey.