My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch!

Bento Recipes: Imo-yokan


Back to the
or the


Imo-yokan is jellied sweet potato cake. It's one of those things I found on the Web, and the description interested me enough to make me search around for a recipe I could manage. As I don't have a postal scale in my kitchen and thus could not measure out grams, I had to guesstimate some of the amounts. It turned out well, though, so I'll say I got it right.

    1 medium-sized sweet potato
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon kanten powder (think Japanese Jell-o, but unflavored and based on seaweed)
    A dash of salt
    3/4 cup water

Get something you want to use as a mold. I used a tart pan, but I would have used a rectangular pan if I'd had one small enough. Line it with plastic wrap. Set it aside.

Peel the sweet potato and cut it into into inch-thick pieces. Soak the pieces in water for a while (a half to a full hour, I guess), then drain. Put the potato pieces in a bowl and microwave on high for 4 minutes.

Crush the spuds with a potato masher, then a whisk. Then strain them by pushing them through a mesh strainer with the back of a large spoon. Warning: This is no small task. Your arms will get a workout!

Put the water, sugar, kanten powder, and a little salt into a small pot and heat it on the stove. When it boils, add the sweet potato. Mix well with the whisk until it's an even, really-thick-soup texture. Let it cool a bit, then pour it into the mold and flatten it down with a wooden spatula. Let it cool and stiffen, then cut it up and serve. The imo-yokan pictures I've seen show a yellowish-colored cake, but mine was Halloweeny orange. Different varieties of sweet potato.