Food Review: Japanese Sweet Potato (Satsumaimo)

This is the pretty picture from the cooking website, not mine. Mine are included in the article.

Folks, I can’t think of too many things more glorious than when something actually lives up to the hype, and that something is food-related. In this case, I’m talking about Japanese sweet potatoes. My co-worker was talking about them on Tuesday, and how you don’t need any fixings with them. That is, unlike a regular potato or another variety of sweet potato where you might add at least butter and seasonings, like salt and pepper — if it’s the sweet potato, the combination of butter and brown sugar is heavenly — or whatever else, with this Japanese sweet potato, it needs nothing added. No, you read that correctly: The Japanese sweet potato needs nothing added, not even basic salt and pepper.

When I responded incredulous to the coworker, she said she’d bring one in the next time we were in the office for me. She kept her word, and brought in two Japanese sweet potatoes! Well, naturally, I made them that night, which was last night. I just had to know if the hype was legitimate!

To prepare them is to prepare them like you would any other potato you’re planning on baking: Scrub and wash, and pat dry (I actually forgot to do the latter). Then, I poked them with a fork, as Martha Stewart advised me. I think I set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t quote me because I might have done 375 degrees. I can’t remember.

The outside is magenta:

They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing potato, but who cares?!

I placed the potatoes directly on the rack, and then cooked for about 90 minutes. I maybe took them out a few minutes prior to the 90-minute mark. My co-worker said she takes them out when they begin to caramelize.

These potatoes made my entire house smell delightful as they were cooking.

Tip: 90 minutes is a long cooking time, so try to get them in the oven far in advance of when you plan on making whatever you’re pairing with the potatoes. Or even before you’re hungry, because it would be agonizing to wait for 90 minutes! Go do something else.

After I used tongs to take the potatoes out of the oven, I simply used a knife to cut down the center to open them up.

And, I added nothing to them.

FOLKS. As my introductory paragraph already spoiled, these Japanese sweet potatoes lived up to the hype and then some. I was genuinely blown away that they were that good without anything added! Sweet and almost creamy-like, melt-in-your-mouth, and full of rich flavor. I gobbled ’em down and was left wanting more, licking my fingers (I was using a fork, but I ended up using my fingers to help along some of the yumminess concealed in the skin). Yes, I admit it.

They have a yellow, creamy look to them on the inside, as if I poured milk over them:

I take great food photos.

The Japanese sweet potato is called Satsumaimo, according to this site, and what makes them different from the American sweet potato is that they are much sweeter and have a “nutty flavor reminiscent of roasted chestnuts.” I’m not sure I have had chestnuts, so I can’t attest to that particular comparison, but I would agree with the nutty flavor description. And the sweetness descriptor. Definitely sweet! That is probably why it doesn’t need butter or even salt. The sweetness is why, according to the site I linked, the Satsumaimo is used in a lot of deserts. Heck, my co-worker was telling me that after she bakes them, her daughter likes to freeze them and then eat them as a dessert! I need to try that.

If you can find them at your local grocery store, I highly recommend giving these a try to switch up your sweet potato experience. I was thoroughly impressed.

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