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Japanese candied sweet potato "daigaku imo"

Candied Sweet Potato (Daigaku Imo)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions


How to make delicious and crispy stick-style Japanese candied sweet potato (daigaku imo). (Serves 4)


  • 1 Japanese sweet potato (Approx 350g)
  • water (for soaking)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • oil (for deep frying)


  • 5 tbsp caster or granulated sugar (60g)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2  tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds


  1. Wash the sweet potato and gently rub the skin to remove any dirt. 
  2. Cut off the ends, cut into 1.5cm (1/2 inch) rounds and then cut each round into 3 sticks.
  3. Place the sweet potato sticks in a bowl of cold water with a pinch of salt and soak for 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the water and dry the surface of each piece thoroughly with kitchen paper.
  5. Place the sticks of sweet potato in a pot and pour in cold oil.
  6. Move the pot to the stove and turn on the heat on a medium setting. Cook the sweet potato until golden. (For thick pieces, pierce with a skewer to check it's soft inside.) From beginning to end, this usually takes about 15 minutes.
  7. Once golden, transfer to a wire rack and allow any excess oil to drain off.
  8. Take a thick base saucepan and add sugar, mirin, water and rice vinegar. Mix the ingredients together and place on the stove, heat on low.
  9. Keep mixing until the sugar is dissolved, make sure to stop mixing as soon as it starts bubbling. 
  10. When the caramel turns golden, dip a chopstick in it and submerge it into cold water, if the caramel goes hard then it's ready. (If it doesn't, heat for a little longer and keep testing.)
  11. Add the sesame seeds and soy sauce, mix quickly and then add the sweet potato pieces. Turn off the heat.
  12. Coat each piece in caramel and then transfer them to a non-stick surface. (Lightly greased baking paper or a silicone baking mat.) If the caramel starts to harden in the pan, heat on low until it softens again and then turn off the heat again to prevent burning. Repeat as many times as necessary until all of your sweet potato sticks are coated.
  13. Leave the daigaku imo to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  14. Enjoy!


Best eaten on the day of cooking.

Cleaning tip: Once you've finished coating the caramel, add hot water straight to the pan and leave it to soak to prevent hard candy sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Soaking time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Japanese

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