Recipe: $6 | Per Serving: $0.75 | Yield: 8 | Jump to Recipe
THESE ARE THE BEST. If you can get your hands on Japanese sweet potatoes, possibly called satsumaimo or murasaki, you will be rewarded with the best potato ever. Japanese sweet potatoes are not as sweet as the orange sweet potatoes we are usually used to in the U.S., and they are slightly creamier and starchier, but in the best way. THEY ARE THE BEST.
Here in the U.S. we have maybe 5 varieties of potatoes, but there are thousands of varieties of potatoes grown throughout the world. When we lived in Peru, we had the chance to try new varieties of potatoes all the time. In Japan, the Japanese sweet potato (satsumaimo) became a staple in our home within the first month of our time there. I am not a huge fan of regular orange sweet potatoes, but these yellow beauties are one of my favorite starches of all time. These beauties were also my contribution to Christmas Even dinner last December because I randomly came across them at a little Asian market near my sister’s house and had to have them. Needless to say, they were very well received.
Japanese sweet potatoes are purple on the outside and light yellow inside. In Japan, you can get them roasted over coals for 100 yen (about $1) at many convenience stores, or if you live in the suburbs or near a park, a sweet potato man (yaki-imo man) drives around a truck with a bed full of hot stones and stone-roasted sweet potatoes, much like the ice cream trucks here. If you’re fast enough to catch him as he drives around announcing his presence over a loudspeaker, you will enjoy a large, delicious Japanese sweet potato for about 200 yen.
I’ve been on the hunt for these beauties since returning to the U.S. in 2016! I know they’re available at Sprout’s in California, the only place I could find them here was MOM’s Organic Market for a long time. But then, I found a potato man at the Baltimore farmer’s market and I could stock up every Sunday! The farmer’s market closes down in the winter, so, sad face, but I’ve since found them regularly available at Whole Foods (expensive), and once I snagged a bag at Trader Joe’s for a very reasonable price. They’re called Murasaki Potatoes and they’re in a purple bag. The one I found was a lone bag buried under bags of orange U.S. sweet potatoes and I was the most excited.
In somewhat related and also exciting news: We’re getting a Sprouts! I mean, not “we” as in Baltimore, but “we” as in Maryland. A Sprout’s is opening in Ellicott City in March of this year! Luckily that’s not too far out of the way of my school, where I find myself almost every weekend. (SO EXCITED.)
I recommend serving your beautiful Japanese sweet potatoes with a little ghee (Whole30) or butter (not Whole30), and some salt and pepper, and that’s it! You can also stuff it with taco fillings, top it with caramelized onions, kale, sausage, and eggs, or just eat it as-is, with no additions whatsoever. If you’ve been following along with my January 2018 Whole30 journey on Instagram (where I posted every single meal and snack for the full 30 days), you might have noticed that these sweet potatoes made a very very regular appearance. Often with breakfast, occasionally as a side dish or snack when one of the meals wasn’t quite filling enough. So perfect.
We traveled with breakfast! I packed frittata and baked sweet potato with ghee on Sunday night to ensure a #whole30 breakfast while not at home. Lunch today will be our first meal out, so I scoped out a basic diner with a massive menu close to the theater. Also, FYI, Wawa has hard boiled eggs and fresh fruit cups if you’re have a Food emergency on the parkway. (PS my phone now capitalizes Food every time — it knows how important it is to me!) Wish us luck! . . #whole30breakfast #januarywhole30 #whole30onthego
When it comes to serving sizes, I consider approximately 1/2 a sweet potato to be 1 serving. These potatoes we bought at Whole Foods were huge, more than 1 pound each, so I cut them into 4 servings each. The ones at Trader Joe’s are smaller, at about $3.99 for 4 potatoes, and usually split one of those normal-sized potatoes between the two of us.
- 3 pounds Japanese sweet potatoes (about 2 large)
- salt, pepper, and ghee or butter for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Scrub the sweet potatoes clean and stab all over with a large fork.
- Bake the sweet potatoes until they're tender all the way through when you poke them with a fork, about 45-90 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.
Serving size is somewhere around ⅓rd of a pound!
Nutrition label is for generic sweet potatoes as Japanese sweet potatoes were not available in this analysis.