Today, I will show you how to make candied sweet potato, in Japanese, “Daigaku Imo”.
I am working on the requested series this month and this is the third. Thank you so much for your request!
Daigaku means university or college, Imo means potato. This is candied sweet potato, if I have to rephrase it, a very popular treat for any ages in Japan.
I had no idea why we call this sweet potato treat as “college potato”.
Now, I did my research. Here is the story.
There was a famous sweet potato shop in front of Imperial University about a century ago. The potato was quite popular among students because it became an energy to work hard. And of course, taste so good!
I assume that the Imperial University, ( what we call “Tokyo univ.” now) represents the best. The tastey sweet potato was named after the best university as No.1! Make sense?
＜ingredients＞serves 4 to 6
2 medium sweet potatoes ( about a pound)
Generous amount of vegetable oil for frying
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
1. Scrub the potatoes well and cut into 1/2 inch rectangle sticks. Soak in water as soon as it cut to remove excess starch and prevent from darkening.
2. Change the water several times and drain.
3. Pour a generous amount of oil into a frying pan, and let your sweet potato in. You don’t have to pat dry the excess water. Put the lid on and turn the heat to medium.
4. After about 5 minutes, the steam comes from the potato stick to the lid. Slowly slide the lid, be careful not to drop the water into the oil, wipe off the lid.
Put the lid again, and cook another 3 minutes. Repeat the process a couple of times, and your sweet potato is fully cooked.
When you cook the sweet potato, “Cold Start” is crucial to get the best result. The conversion of starch into sugar becomes most active on 70℃（158℉）. When you start cooking on low, your potato will get through the temperature slowly, that makes your sweet potato at the maximum sweetness.
5. Test by using a skewer, if it’s good, take the potatoes out onto a wire lack.
A few minutes later, heat the oil at high, and double fry for a few seconds until outside is crispy.
6. Drain the oil and wipe the pan with paper towel. Add a tablespoon of oil, and turn on the heat to medium. Add sugar and salt, cook until the sugar dissolve.
Do not stir, just swirl the pan to cook evenly. If you stir, your sugar will crystalize and the texture is sandy.
7. When the syrup lightly browned, the sweet potato goes in.
Reduce the heat to low and toss to coat. Take your time to coat as evenly as you can.
Once you happy with it, transfer to a parchment-lined tray, and let them cool. The oil prevents from sticking each other and the excess stay in the pan.
Transfer to a dish and serve.
Crusty on the outside, soft and moist and almost creamy inside. The contrast is the signature of the recipe. If you have a vegetarian friend, enjoy with them!
The sugar crust will last about a half day. The next day, the sugar crust melts and becomes a syrup. But it is good as well. Just give it a try!