Japanese Purple Sweet Potato Recipe

Japanese Purple Sweet Potato Recipe

Have you ever seen a sweet potato that’s not orange? Believe it or not, there’s a whole world of sweet potatoes beyond the classic orange variety! Today, we’re going on an adventure to explore the Japanese purple sweet potato, a delicious and nutritious vegetable with a stunning purple hue.

This guide is perfect for curious cooks of all ages, especially those for everyone! We’ll break down everything you need to know about cooking these vibrant sweet potatoes in a fun and easy way. So, grab your grown-up helper, and let’s get cooking!

What are Japanese Purple Sweet Potatoes?

Purple Sweet Potatoes
Purple Sweet Potatoes

Japanese purple sweet potatoes, also known as Satsumaimo (薩つまいも), are a special type of sweet potato known for their beautiful deep purple color. This vibrant color comes from a natural pigment called anthocyanin, which is also found in blueberries and red cabbage.

Don’t worry, the purple color doesn’t affect the taste! These sweet potatoes are just as delicious as their orange cousins but with a slightly nuttier and sweeter flavor. They’re also packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, making them a healthy and fun addition to your meals.

How to Choose the Perfect Japanese Purple Sweet Potato

Now that you’re excited about trying these purple wonders, let’s learn how to pick the best ones at the grocery store! Look for sweet potatoes that are firm and smooth to the touch. Avoid any potatoes with blemishes, soft spots, or wrinkles.

The size doesn’t matter too much, but if you’re planning to roast them whole, choose potatoes that are similar in size for even cooking.

Let’s Get Cooking! Fun and Easy Ways to Prepare Japanese Purple Sweet Potatoes:

The great thing about Japanese purple sweet potatoes is their versatility! You can cook them in many ways, just like regular sweet potatoes. Here are some easy and fun methods to try:

1. Roasting:

This is a classic and foolproof way to cook sweet potatoes. Here’s how to do it:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Wash your sweet potatoes thoroughly. You can leave the skin on for extra nutrients, or peel it if you prefer.
  • Using a fork, poke a few holes in the potato to allow steam to escape.
  • Drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil or melted butter (optional).
  • Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 45-60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  • You can add some fun spices like cinnamon or paprika for extra flavor!

2. Steaming:

Steaming is another healthy way to cook your sweet potatoes. Here’s what to do:

  • Fill a pot with a couple of inches of water and bring it to a boil.
  • Place a steamer basket over the pot.
  • Wash your sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes or slices (optional).
  • Place the sweet potatoes in the steamer basket and steam for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
  • You can check for doneness by piercing a piece with a fork.

3. Microwaving:

If you’re short on time, you can also microwave your sweet potatoes. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Wash your sweet potato and poke it with a fork a few times.
  • Place it on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes, depending on the size.
  • Flip the potato halfway through and continue microwaving until tender.
  • Be careful, the potato will be hot! Use an oven mitt or let it cool slightly before handling.

What to Do with Your Cooked Japanese Purple Sweet Potatoes

Once your sweet potatoes are cooked, the possibilities are endless! Here are some delicious ideas:

  • Enjoy them plain: The sweet, nutty flavor is delicious on its own.
  • Top with your favorites: Add a dollop of butter, a sprinkle of brown sugar, a drizzle of honey, or a scoop of yogurt with some chopped nuts for a delightful treat.
  • Mash them up: Make creamy purple mashed sweet potatoes for a side dish or base for a shepherd’s pie.
  • Cut them into cubes: Add them to salads, stir-fries, or curries for a burst of color and flavor.
  • Make sweet potato fries: Slice the potatoes thinly and bake or air-fry them for a healthier alternative to regular fries.
  • Get creative! Use your imagination and experiment with different recipes that feature Japanese purple sweet potatoes.

The Wonderful World of Purple Sweet Potato Fun!

Cooking with Japanese purple sweet potatoes can be a fun and educational experience for kids! Here are some activities to turn cooking time into playtime:

  • Purple Potato Art: Before cooking, let the kids decorate the raw sweet potatoes with washable markers or paint. Once cooked, peel off the “art” to reveal a surprise design underneath!
  • Sensory Exploration: Blindfold the kids and have them touch, smell, and taste both raw and cooked purple sweet potatoes. Can they guess the difference?
  • Purple Potato Mash Playdough: Use mashed purple sweet potatoes (without butter or seasonings) to create a unique playdough experience. Kids can add glitter, spices, or small food items for extra fun. (Remember, this playdough isn’t edible!)
  • Shape Challenge: Challenge the kids to cut the sweet potatoes into different shapes before cooking. They can use cookie cutters or get creative with knife skills (with adult supervision, of course!).
  • Purple Power Smoothie: Once cooked, blend the purple sweet potatoes with yogurt, fruit, and a little milk for a delicious and nutritious purple power smoothie!

Beyond the Kitchen: Exploring the Science of Purple Sweet Potatoes:

Cooking can be a great way to spark curiosity about science! Here are some fun facts about Japanese purple sweet potatoes to explore:

  • The Power of Anthocyanin: Research the pigment anthocyanin and its health benefits. Why do some foods have this pigment, and what other foods are rich in it?
  • The Chemistry of Cooking: Explore the science behind cooking sweet potatoes. What happens to the starches in the potato as it cooks? Why does the color stay vibrant even after cooking?
  • Growing Your Own: Learn about the process of growing sweet potatoes! Can you grow your purple sweet potatoes at home or in a school garden?

Final Words

Japanese purple sweet potatoes are a delicious, nutritious, and fun addition to your kitchen adventures. With their vibrant color and versatility, they’re a great way to explore new flavors and get creative in the kitchen. So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to pick up some purple sweet potatoes and embark on a culinary adventure!

This blog post is just a starting point! There’s a whole world of recipes and information about Japanese purple sweet potatoes waiting to be discovered. With a little creativity and exploration, you can turn these vibrant vegetables into a fun and educational experience for the whole family.