Photo: Karla Engdahl
table talk

Sweet potato, spice and all things nice

By Karla Engdahl

September and October mark the beginning of autumn in Japan, my favorite season. Then, of course, there’s koyo (autumn leaves) to look forward to, and there’s also the seasonal produce that opens up a whole range of possibilities in the flavor department.

So after moving away from the cold noodles and salads of summer towards the warm stews and fragrant autumn sweets, I wanted to try something different. Today on Japanese Recipe Adventures, we’re making the much-adored dorayaki.

Sort of like a Japanese pancake sandwich, dorayaki are traditionally made up of two pillowy-soft buns wrapped around sweet azuki (red bean) paste. Inspired by an abundance of in-season sweet potatoes and the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte after a 15-year hiatus from Japan, I set out to attempt a flavor combination that was sure to delight.


Photo: Karla Engdahl

This will make four sweet potato dorayaki with a bit of leftover sweet potato paste.

Sweet potato paste:

  • 200g sweet potato (uncooked)
  • 50ml milk (any type of milk)
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on taste and initial sweetness of the sweet potato)
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice powder
  • ¼ tsp clove powder

Dorayaki pancakes:

  • 70g cake flour (薄力粉 Hakuriko) (Avoid using strong 強力小麦粉 or ‘bread’ flour as you want the pancakes to be soft and fluffy)
  • 5g baking powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp milk (any type of milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

To serve:

  • Whipped cream
  • Maple syrup


Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

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Or you could just have the delicious sweet potato baked in its jacket instead.

Plenty sweet, with lots of fibre to help your body process its sugars as Nature intended. Look for the yaki imo stand in most supermarkets - your body will thank you.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Or you could just have the delicious sweet potato baked in its jacket instead.

I just had some right now, delicious!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am a big fan of the sweet potato. Seems to me that it is much more popular in Asia than in the West. I wonder why. So many people over here turn up their noses at the sweet potato. Perhaps there is a genetic predisposition not to like sweet potatoes in many Westerners? My DNA test said that I have a few percent Asian DNA. No idea where it came from, but maybe it explains why sweet potatoes taste so good to me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Among my fondest remembrances of living in Japan for the decade of the 1960s are listening for the cries of the yak-imo ojisan as he approached with his pushcart filled with tasty goodness on brisk autumn days. No butter or sugar was needed to thoroughly enjoy this tasty treat.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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