Tag

Sweet potato

Winter Food

Karaimo Netabo (Satsumaimo & Brown Rice Mochi)

Coming of Age Day
成人の日
Seijin no Hi
Karaimo Netabo for Seijin no Hi
Monday January the 8th this year in Japan is coming of age day Seijin no hi 成人の日.
Seijin no Hi is a Japanese holiday held on the 2nd Monday in January and marks one’s coming of age (age of maturity). In Japan people turned or will turn 20 between April 2 of the previous year and April 1 of the current one may attend coming of age ceremonies (成人式 seijin-shiki). Ceremonial dress for women is furisode, a style of kimono with long sleeves and sandals, the kimono is often worn with a furry collar.
For men traditional dress is dark kimono with hakama (a kind of  a loose fitting trouser ). It may be common to see people in these elaborate costumes visiting shrines to pray for health and success.
Afterwards they may gather in groups and go to parties.
“Karaimo Netabo” からいもねったぼ
Mochi is often eaten in japan as a symbol of good fortune and a long life as it’s so stretchy. It is customary to make and eat “Karaimo Netabo” when pounding rice cakes during the year-end and New Year’s holidays at a ceremony called mochitsuki 餅つき. Karaimo Netabo, is a local specialty of Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima was historically known as the “Satsuma” thus a Kagoshima grown sweet potato was named Satsumaimo.
Sweet potatoes were traditionally grown in Kagoshima and then spread to the rest of Japan. Today, Kagoshima ranks number one as a sweet potato producer in Japan.
Karaimo Netabo is also said to be called kneaded botamochi. It is also eaten as a snack during other occasions besides New Year’s so I thought it would be a nice to make this to celebrate Seijin no Hi, no matter what your age to celebrate good fortune and health for the year.
Using “Satsuma imo” Japanese Sweet potato with brown rice mochi then rolling in kinako (soy bean flour) gives this wagashi a delicious sweet nutty flavour.  It’s so easy to make with just a few ingredients.
You will need:

One large Japanese sweet potato. Give the potato a clean but do not peel.

Brown rice mochi (i used the one by Clearspring)

A pinch of salt

Kinako (roasted soy bean flour to roll the mochi in)

Method:

Slice the potato into thick rounds and steam in a steamer until soft.

Break each mochi in half and place on-top of each slice of potato and steam again together for a few more minutes.

Once steamed, mash the sweet potato with the brown rice mochi and a pinch of salt.

Add some kinako to a bowl

Spoon a ball of the mixture and drop it into the kinako then roll the mochi mixture in the kinako this will make it less sticky and easier to handle. You can then shape the mochi and place on a plate.

If you have a Kagami mochi to open for kagami biraki (鏡開き) on the 11th of January you could maybe consider making this with the mochi that is inside.

Here’s to a healthy year ahead.

Blog, Winter Food

Yaki Imo Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes 焼き芋


When winter arrives the melancholy music from the yaki-imo  truck rings through the streets and people hear the  long drawn-out song “yaki-imo, ishi-yaki-imo” ~ from their speakers. “Hot fresh sweet potato, sweet potato, sweet potato! Freshly baked and tastes great!”

The sound of yaki-imo trucks brings a nostalgic feeling for  japan, this feeling is known as Natsukashii evoking a memory which brings emotions of yearning, impermanence and wistfulness. Yaki-imo are traditionally sold out of special trucks that drive around the town think like a winter version of an ice cream van.

With no added salt or butter it’s hard to believe that it’s just a humble slowly baked satsumaimo さつまいも . They have a red toned purple skin with a pale cream interior that becomes a yellow colour after cooking. They are creamy Soft, sweet, light and fluffy when cooked and taste more like a dessert due to being baked at a low temperature which allows the enzyme amylase to break down more starches into sugars resulting in a sweet tasting potato. The added bonus is they are incredibly nutritious, healthy and satisfying. Being high in dietary fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals vitamins C, vitamin A  and vitamin B6.

I had recently bought some from a Japanese grocery store and stored them in a cool dark place for a few weeks to ripen.

Gently Wash the sweet potato skin and pat dry.

For a softer skin wrap In foil then place on a baking tray and put the tray into the cold oven. Leaving the foil will result in a more crispier skin

Bake sweet potatoes at (150C) for for 90 minutes push a tooth pick in to check.

Turn off the oven, then leave the sweet potatoes inside with the door closed for one hour.

Remove from the oven and and savour the flavour of winter street food in japan the ultimate comfort food which takes me back.

Autumn Food, Blog, Winter Food

Candied Sweet Potatoes Daigaku Imo 大学芋 with a Yuzu syrup

Have you heard the Japanese word Natsukashii ? It’s a word meaning a small thing that brings back fond memories of the past. When I posted my candied Japanese sweet potato on my Instagram account I had so many messages from either people from Japan now not living in Japan or people with memories of Japan. One japanese lady said it reminded her of her grandmother. How lovely I thought that these small things can bring back such sweet memories maybe of your childhood or a visit to a certain place.
I decided to make these when I was lucky enough to get hold of some Japanese sweet potato (Satsumaimo) さつまいも. These sweet potato are great for desserts as they are very sweet. Often used as an ingredient for kuri kinton part of a New Years Osechi Ryori.

When autumn rolls around in Japan you may hear the sound of the autumns equivalent to a summers ice cream truck it’s the Yaki-Imo truck. Baked satsumaimo warm the hands on a cold day. Tear them open to reveal the orange flesh.

Daigaku-imo actually means university potatoes, maybe because of the story of someone selling these to help pay for their university tuition or another story is there was a potato shop near Tokyo university which became a hit with the student’s.
These snacks are normally deep fried and then coated in a sweet caramelised syrup. I decided to make a snack that you could eat without frying but then afterwards I decided to sauté them and they were both delicious so you can decide to do it either way. Because they are so sweet Japanese people like to eat them as an accompaniment to green tea.

You will need a Japanese sweet potato I got a Miyazaki Beni which is the original brand type of Japanese sweet potato.


Purple on the outside and a cream flesh that turns orange when cooked. You don’t have to but I took off some of the outer skin to make it look interesting. Slice into rounds and put in a bowl of cold water for 15 mins to remove any starch.

Add to a pan one cup of water, two tablespoons of granulated sugar and two tablespoons of yuzu juice. The yuzu  juice is optional but it gives the syrup a lovely citrus flavour which I think goes well with the potatoes. Give it a stir then drain your potatoes and add them to your pan. Simmer on a low heat with a dropped lid or otoshibuta, if you don’t have one just use tin foil with a few holes pushed in and rest it on top. This will perfectly simmer your potatoes and stop them them breaking as you won’t need to stir them. Simmer for around 20 mins. Your syrup will start to thicken, test your potatoes are done with a toothpick and leave to cool in the syrup.


You can then eat them as they are or add the potatoes to a pan without the syrup with a little oil and sauté them until crispy on the outside.


Then serve them warm adding a drizzle of the syrup and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.


Either way I hope you will enjoy this traditional Japanese treat.