Daigaku Imo (Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes)

5 from 2 votes
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This Daigaku Imo is a beloved Japanese treat with deep-fried pieces of sweet potato covered in a candy coating, making it the perfect snack for your sweet tooth!

Daigaku imo (Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes) served in a bowl.

Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a sweet treat to enjoy with your tea, try this Daigaku Imo. It’s a delightful snack loved by children and adults alike.

Japanese sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, meaning you can enjoy this snack without adding excessive amounts of sugar. If you have a sweet tooth like me, these potatoes will satisfy your cravings while being a healthier alternative!

    This recipe is for you if:
  • You love Japanese sweet potatoes.
  • You are looking for a daigaku imo recipe.
  • You want to try an easy Japanese sweet potato recipe.

Let me show you how to make it. If you want to check the recipe immediately, please visit the link below. Let’s get started!

About this recipe

  • Japanese popular snack
  • Crispy sweet potatoes with candy coating
  • A delicious and easy treat

What is Daigaku Imo?

Daigaku imo (Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes) illustration.

Daigaku imo, also known as candied sweet potato, is a popular snack among the Japanese people. The dish is made by deep-frying sweet potato pieces and coating them in sugar syrup, and you can enjoy the crispy skin and soft, fluffy inside.

Daigaku imo, which translates to ‘university potatoes’ in English, gained popularity among university students in Tokyo during the early 1900s, and this is where the dish gets its name from. In Japanese, ‘Daigaku’ means university, and ‘Imo’ means potatoes.

📋 Ingredients

Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).

Ingredients for Daigaku imo (Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes).
  • Japanese sweet potatoes: See below.
  • Oil: You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or any oil.
  • Sweet sauce: Sugar, mirin, soy sauce.
  • Toasted sesame seeds: Black seeds are typically used for Daigaku Imo, but you can also use white seeds.

Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Japanese sweet potatoes.

Japanese sweet potatoes, also known as satsumaimo, are easily distinguished by their reddish-purple skin and yellowish-white flesh.

They are typically sweeter and starchier than other sweet potato varieties. They are commonly used in Japanese cuisine for sweet and savory dishes, such as tempura, yaki imo (roasted sweet potato), and baked treats.

Where to Buy Japanese Ingredients

If you live in the US, you can find Japanese ingredients in the list below.

  • Japanese market: Mitsuwa MarketplaceMarukai
  • Asian market
  • Whole Foods Market
  • Health food stores
  • Online stores: Instacart, Walmart, Amazon

🔪Instructions

How to make it is super easy! Let me show you how.

  1. Cut sweet potatoes and soak.
  2. Microwave the sweet potatoes.
  3. Pan-frying until golden brown and crispy.
  4. Make a sweet sauce.
  5. Combine the sauce with the sweet potatoes.

Step 1

Pieces of Japanese sweet potatoes soaked in a bowl of water.

Cut the sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces and place them in a large-sized bowl. Add enough water to cover the sweet potatoes and soak for 5 minutes.

Step 2

Pieces of Japanese sweet potatoes soaked in a water.

Drain the sweet potatoes and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked.

Pieces of Japanese sweet potatoes on a paper towel.

Remove any excess water from the sweet potatoes with a paper towel.

Step 3

Pieces of Japanese sweet potatoes cooked in a frying pan.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sweet potatoes and pan fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer the fried sweet potatoes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.

Step 4

sweet syrup for making daigaku imo.

In the same pan, remove the oil, add the sugar, mirin, water, and soy sauce, and cook over low heat.

sweet syrup for making daigaku imo.

Cook until it thickens, constantly stirring to prevent burning.

Step 5

sweet syrup and cooked sweet potatoes in a frying pan.

Add the fried sweet potatoes and sesame seeds to the pan and stir until they are evenly coated with the sweet syrup.

Serve

Daigaku imo (Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes) served in a bowl.

Place the sweet potato pieces in a bowl and enjoy this delicious sweet snack! For an extra touch of flavor, feel free to top it with additional toasted sesame seeds and add a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness even further!

Storage

Transfer Daigaku Imo to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Good for 3 to 4 days.

Helpful tips

  • Soaking sweet potatoes can not only help to remove the bitterness but also help to prevent the color from changing or darkening.
  • Remove any excess water completely to prevent oil splatters thoroughly.
  • You can skip the microwaving step and deep-fry the sweet potatoes for an extra crunchy texture. Make sure to deep-fry them slowly at a medium to low temperature of around 160°C (320°F) to ensure the center is fully cooked.
  • You can use an air fryer for a healthier twist. Air fry sweet potato pieces until they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, without using oil.

Thanks For Stopping By!

Daigaku imo (Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes) served in a bowl.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog♡ If you’ve tried this recipe (or any other recipe on the blog), please give it a star rating below!

Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!

Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.

More Recipes You Might Like

daigaku imo served in a bowl.

Daigaku Imo (Candied Japanese Sweet Potatoes)

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Juri Austin
This Daigaku Imo is a beloved Japanese treat with deep-fried pieces of sweet potato covered in a candy coating, making it the perfect snack for your sweet tooth!

Equipment

  • 1 Frying pan 26cm (10 inch)

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium-sized Japanese sweet potatoes, 350g
  • Oil, for pan frying
  • 1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

Sweet Syrup

  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Mirin
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce

Instructions

  • Preparation: Cut the sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Add enough water to cover the sweet potatoes and soak for 5 minutes.
  • Microwave: Drain the sweet potatoes and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked. Remove any excess water from the sweet potatoes with a paper towel.
  • Pan-frying: Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sweet potatoes and pan fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer the fried sweet potatoes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  • Sweet syrup: In the same pan, remove the oil, add the sugar, mirin, water, and soy sauce, and cook over low heat until it thickens, constantly stirring to prevent burning.
  • Combine: Add the fried sweet potatoes to the pan and stir until they are evenly coated with the sweet sauce.
  • Topping: Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for extra flavor.

Notes

  • Storage: Transfer Daigaku Imo to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Good for 3 to 4 days.
  • Soaking sweet potatoes can not only help to remove the bitterness but also help to prevent the color from changing or darkening.
    Remove any excess water completely to prevent oil splatters thoroughly.
  • You can skip the microwaving step and deep-fry the sweet potatoes for an extra crunchy texture. Make sure to deep-fry them slowly at a medium to low temperature of around 160°C (320°F) to ensure the center is fully cooked.
  • You can use an air fryer instead of pan-frying pieces of sweet potatoes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: daigaku imo, japanese sweet potato
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