Miwa’s Kyoto Kitchen Recipe This Japanese dessert confection is called Sui-to Poteto (スウィートポテト) in Japanese. That’s the Japanese pronunciation of sweet potato, as you probably guessed. Preparation is simple; steam the sweet potato and mash with butter, sugar, eggs, milk and cinnamon and bake. They are hand formed into delicate balls. We added cinnamon as an homage to Kyoto’s famous omiyage: Yatsuhashi.
Home Cooking: Kyoto-style Sweet Potato (Sui-to Poteto) with Cinnamon
Classic Modern Japanese Sweet: Sui-to Poteto
Sui-to Poteto is a classic that was invented in 1949 by Matsuzo Inoue, the patisserie at the exclusive Imperial (Teikoku) Hotel in Tokyo. Though he was based in Tokyo, his philosophy about food seems informed by Kyoto’s culinary culture; select quality and seasonal ingredients and endeavor to bring out the taste of the ingredients. Chef Inoue’s creation can now be found in confectionaries and bakeries all over Japan.
The sweet potato came to Japan some 300 years ago and is now a very common ingredient in many wagashi confections. (See below for details.)
Kyoto Cinnamon Omiyage: Yatsuhashi
Cinnamon came to Japan in the 8th century. At that time cinnamon was considered more a medicine than a spice. It was used to cure stomach aches, fever, improve blood circulation and warm the body. Yatsuhashi is Kyoto’s ubiquitous confection, it is omiyage, or souvenir. Yatsuhashi comes in numerous variaties but is invariably mochi, either fresh or baked, that has been flavored with cinnamon. There are countless companies and stores in Kyoto that make and sell yatsuhashi, at least three have been in business for more than 300 years!
Therefore, we added cinnamon to our sui-to poteto to make it Kyoto-style.
Japanese ‘Satsuma Imo’ Sweet Potato
Steaming Satsuma Imo
Mashing with Butter
Mixing in Cinnamon
Kyoto-style ‘Sui-to Poteto’ Recipe
- 2 sweet potatoes (about 500 grams total)
- 6 tablespoons sugar (we like natural brown sugar)
- 30 grams butter
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 egg yolk (one for potato mixture one for glaze)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt (if desired)
- sesame seeds
＊Our measurements are approximate and we assume that our readers are foodies, so please taste along the way and adjust as you see fit.
point: To be Kyoto-style the final product should not be too sweet and the cinnamon should not overpower any of the other tastes. You want to bring out the natural taste of the sweet potato, enhance it with sweetness and richness. The cinnamon should be the grab your attention immediately but be the finish. Complexity and subtlety is the point, but by no means be dull!
Wash the sweet potatoes. Cut into 2 cm thick slices. Steam gently for 0ver low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Place in mixing bowl and remove skins after the slices have cooled enough to touch. It is important to gently steam the sweet potatoes at a relatively low temperature as this will increase the natural sweetness of the potatoes. (Best not to cheat and use the microwave!)
Mashing and mixing by hand, stir in butter and sugar. (A mixer can be used but we liked ours with a little chunkiness left. See last photo below for interior detail.) Mix in egg yolk and milk. Taste and add sugar and/or butter if needed. Stir in half the cinnamon and taste. Add remaining cinnamon as needed.
Gently form into roughly ping pong sized balls. Squeeze chakin shibori style if you like. Simply use damp muslin or similar cloth for this and rinse occasionally.
Brush on egg yolk glaze and add several sesame seeds on top. The second time we made this, I used white sesame seeds for some and sprinkled sugar on others.
Cook for 15 minutes in oven with broiler at 200 c or oven toaster. We tried both and definitely liked the oven toaster sui-to poteto best. You aren’t really cooking it through and through like a chocolate chip cookie, just getting it hot and browning the top.
Chakin Shibori – Twist and Squeeze in Muslin Cloth
Chakin shibori (茶巾絞り) is used to shape many wagashi confections.
Chakin Shibori Formed Sui-to Poteto
Notice the delicate texture imparted to the raw ‘sui-to poteto’ from the chakin cloth.
Egg Yolk and Black Sesame Seeds
Baking Sui-to Poteto
Sui-to Poteto – Served
Sui-to Poteto and Milk
Sui-to Poteto – detail
Sweet Potatoes in Japanese Culinary Culture
Sweet potatoes are more ubiquitous in Japan than you might imagined. They are used in all sorts of dishes, especially confections. Sweet potatoes came to Japan from South America through Southeast Asia, China and the Ryukyu Kingdom, present-day Okinawa and landed in Kyushu about 300 years ago.
Production of satsuma imo soon flourished on the southern tip of Japan (called Satsuma then) because of the volcanic soil and hot climate. Kyushu’s famed imo-jochu, the shochu distilled alcohol of the region, is made from these same sweet potatoes. Farther north in Japan wheat and rice is used.
Production of sweet potatoes was limited to the Satsuma region for some time until a horrible famine swept Japan. The people in present-day Kagoshima and Nagasaki prefectures fared significantly better than other areas because they had an abundant supply of rich and hardy sweet potatoes. After the famine, satsuma imo production was promoted by the Tokugawa Shogunate in Tokyo and quickly spread throughout the country.
from KyotoFoodie article Satsuma Imo (Sweet Potato) Caramel
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