Lemony sweet, this is an ideal dessert to serve after an Asian meal. It is quick, simple and inexpensive to make. Other plus points? It can be made ahead and those lemon slices turn nice and syrupy sweet. I came across this recipe many years ago in a Japanese cookbook and I made it only once that many years ago and served it at a party. Considering it was so well received, I am rather baffled as to why I never served it again. I distinctly remember, this one particular woman going back for more and more. I was asked repeatedly to make them again but I never did get around to it. Now, I am making things right. Here is the recipe. You don’t have to wait for me to whip them up again. You can make some for yourselves tonight. It’s not the exact recipe as I can’t seem to find that cookbook but I have come up with this recipe and retested it 3 times so I know it works.

Lemony Sweet Potatoes In A Light Syrup

Prep: ~5 – 10 minutes 
Cook: ~15 minutes
Inactive:
Level: Easy
Serves: 4
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes.
Make ahead? Keeps well refrigerated up to 3 days.

Ingredients

14oz (400g) sweet potatoes
~ 3 – 4 Tablespoons sugar (add more if you like things sweeter)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup water or enough to almost cover
1/2 to 1 lemon, sliced thinly
Some lemon juice for squeezing over (optional)

Method

1. How to choose sweet potatoes? Scroll down to ‘Tips’ section. Wash sweet potatoes, dry, peel and remove any dark spots. Slice into 0.39″ (1 cm) rounds. To prevent them from discolouring and to rinse off some of the starch, add the end slices of the lemon into a bowl of water and then drop the sweet potato rounds in it.
2. In a wide bottom frying pay, remove the drained sweet potatoes and lay them in one layer. Add enough water to barely cover the sweet potatoes, sprinkle the sugar and salt, cover the pan and bring to boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, still covered, to simmer away for ~5. Test with a skewer. If it pushes through easily, it is done. Do not continue to boil over high temperatures as the sweet potatoes will crack or break apart.

3. Remove the lid, turn over the sweet potato slices one at a time to prevent breakage, slip in the lemon slices, scoop some syrup over the lemon slices. Cover the pan.

4. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes or until the syrup reaches only 1/3 up the sides of the sweet potatoes. However, if the sweet potatoes are cooked through, remove them and lemon slices (latter if you choose too). Set aside. Reduce the syrup instead.
5. Once syrup has reduced (enough to coat sweet potatoes), turn off the burner. Remove pan from burner.
6. Return sweet potatoes and lemon slices to syrup to absorb more of the lemony syrup. Cover.

To serve
1. Once plated, squeeze lemon juice over them if you choose.
2. This lemony sweet potato can be served hot, at room temperature or cold. It taste wonderful any which way.

Tips

Serving suggestions
(1) Do serve those slices of lemon with the sweet potatoes. They will be wonderfully tart, lemony and sweet at the same time. You might want to cut them into smaller pieces if you don’t think you care for too much of it. I can’t get enough of the lemon slices.
(2) I like to sprinkle a Japanese 7-flavours chilli spice mix, Shichimi/Nanami Togarashi, before I eat. It is really not that spicy of a mix and it gives a nice contrast to the sweet and lemony sweet potatoes. The mix has 7 ingredients: chilli pepper, roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, Japanese (sansho/szechuan) pepper, ginger and seaweed. Refer to the feature image above. There is a bottle of it featured.

Choosing sweet potatoes

(1) Reach for larger, fatter ones as they are more likely to be less fibrous
(2) Smooth skins and less buds (‘eyes’)
(3) No dark spots or shoots
(4) Firm
(5) Comes in a variety of skin colours, yellow, orange, purple. Colour is not really any indication of how sweet the sweet potatoes will be. More often than not, Japanese grown sweet potatoes will be sweet.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

Cupcakes in time for Valentine’s Day!

Clearing out my pantry is always a good thing. I get an inventory of what is in its far depths and then I become quite determined to not waste anything and come up with all sorts of ideas to use them all up. This is my latest creation. Born out of a dash of creativity but more out of that conscience driven need to not throw food out. Look out for the recipe for these moist cupcakes. A hint as to what is in them? Coconut milk, desiccated coconut, bananas…and a chocolate hazelnut ball of Ferrero Rocher!

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