Growing up in Korea, my childhood memories include eating vegetables/fruits considered to be savory or side dishes here in the US of A to savory dishes being eaten like desserts. In winter – sweet potatoes (Japanese, Korean, me thinks same same) steamed and peeled whole, often sold by street vendors much in the same way that chestnuts are still sold in street corners of Paris. In summer time – fresh sliced tomatoes marinated with sugar, eating crunchy cucumbers as snacks…it was very simple and natural. No canned fruit in plastic cups, no fried potatoes in bags (although I’ve been known to finish a few…) – just unadulterated goodness.
Which is why I got all excited when my mom introduced me to the shockingly purple Japanese Okinawa(n) purple sweet potatoes. It’s like the blood oranges of sweet potatoes. By sheer chance, you may hit sly purple veins as you cut into it – or SURPRISE! and you are shocked with the vibrant candy-like purple color just popping out at you.
High in natural sugar and starch content than regular potatoes and as most sweet potatoes are higher in nutrition content with more antioxidants than regular mr/mrs potato heads (yay the craze of sweet potato fries!), they are simple and sometimes impressive sweets that can be served as desserts. Sweet and nutty and more moisture than a potato, almost like a chestnut but velvety and a little sexy, a perfect bliss.
I simply 1) scrubbed them 2) baked them for 45-55 min in the oven at 350 degrees, cooled, peeled and sliced them 3) pan-fried them with some coconut oil and 4) dolloped maple syrup, greek yogurt and roasted sesame seeds for a simple dessert. enjoy!