• Japanese candied sweet potato (daigaku imo) (Brett Stevens)Source: Brett Stevens

This is sweet potato at its very sweetest! Deep-fried sweet potato is tossed in a sticky, sweetened soy glaze and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. The name translates as ‘university potatoes’, believed to date back to the 1900s when the dish was popular with university students in Tokyo.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (56 votes)


  • 600 g purple sweet potato (see Note)
  • vegetable oil, to deep-fry
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • black sesame seeds (see Note), to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Scrub sweet potato skin, then pat dry (skin must be completely dry). Cut sweet potato into 4 cm pieces, including some of the skin in each piece if possible. Using a clean tea towel, pat dry again.

Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Carefully add sweet potato to oil and cook for 8 minutes or until deep golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Meanwhile, combine honey, sugar and 2½ tablespoons of water in a small non-stick frying pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture is golden and starting to caramelise. Add soy sauce, gently swirling to combine. Add cooked sweet potatoes, tossing to coat in syrup. Transfer to a serving platter, scatter over black sesame seeds and serve immediately.



• Purple sweet potato is from select greengrocers or Asian supermarkets, substitute orange sweet potato (kumara).

• Black sesame seeds are available from Asian food shops and select supermarkets. Substitute plain sesame seeds.


Photography Brett Stevens.


As seen in Feast magazine, November 2014, Issue 37.