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.