It’s around this time of the year when the chant of the ishi-yakiimo-ya, or stone-roasted sweet potato seller, starts echoing in my rural Japanese neighborhood. One by one my neighbor’s front doors open as children pulling their parents rush out to buy piping hot sweet sweet satsumaimo (sweet potato). In big cities, this sight is rare, but starting from early autumn to early winter, you can still enjoy freshly cooked hot satsumaimo everywhere from your local supermarket to autumn festival food stalls to highway rest areas.
Changing gears, as a preschool teacher, I often hear parents complaining about the amount of sugar in our diet and especially in products aimed at children. Seeing how much my students and I love the naturally sweet taste of satsumaimo, I came up with this recipe for a perfect little lunchbox filler or after school energy snack. Here’s how to make it.
- 1 large precooked satsumaimo*
- 1 cup almond meal
- 6 pitted medjool dates
- 4 tbsp cacao powder (couple more for coating)
- 1 heaped tbsp runny honey or pure maple syrup
*The recipe calls for a precooked satsumaimo, however, you can cook your own by either:
1. Heating oven to 150 degrees, placing the sweet potato on an oven tray and baking until the skin starts to blister and a fork or chopstick can easily be inserted into the middle (around 1 hour and 15 minutes).
2. Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high in the microwave for 8 minutes. Turn the potato, and continue to cook for another 8 minutes (or more) until tender.
- Scoop out the insides of the sweet potato and place it with the remaining ingredients inside a food processor.
- Whizz for a few minutes or until the mixture starts to come together like a dough.
- Using your hands, either slightly wetted or in gloves, roll mixture into small balls.
- To finish, coat balls in raw cacao powder (get creative and roll in coconut or sesame seeds, too!)
- Refrigerate before consumption or nom nom straight away if you just can’t wait.
This recipe is: Gluten-free, Refined sugar-free, Dairy-free, Vegan
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