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Japanese sweet potato casserole

So, I may have promised to share my recipe for the Japanese sweet potato casserole I brought to the blogger potluck over the weekend. It was intended as a recipe for my cookbook and it will still appear in the finished version, but I suppose I could give this one away early as kind of a teaser. 😉

It really couldn’t be simpler, but yields an impressive result. If you can make mashed potatoes, you can definitely put together this delicious Japanese take on the traditional Thanksgiving classic.

My Japanese sweet potato casserole for potluck

Japanese sweet potato casserole

A Japanese interpretation of the classic Thanksgiving side dish featuring the subtle sweetness of Japanese sweet potatoes.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 2 very large Japanese sweet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Peel potatoes and chop into small pieces of roughly the same size.
  2. Boil potatoes until tender (approximately 15 to 20 minutes.) Drain and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mash with butter, sugar, cinnamon, and milk while still warm. Allow to cool, then mix in one of the egg yolks.
  4. Pour into a 9 inch round or square baking dish and use the back of a spoon to make a design of your choosing on the surface.
  5. Break apart the remaining egg yolk with a fork and brush the entire yolk over the surface of the casserole being careful not to flatten the design. Sprinkle on sesame seeds if desired.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees to heat it through then put under the broiler for up to 10 minutes to brown the top.

This recipe was actually inspired by a type of Japanese candy known as a “wagashi.” Wagashi are small individual-sized desserts that are traditionally served with tea. Typical flavors include mashed chestnuts, green tea, several varieties of sweetened beans, dried fruits, steamed squashes, and also sweet potatoes.

One common wagashi is the suito poteto, which of course refers to the fact that it is made from sweet potatoes. The potatoes are steamed, mashed, lightly sweetened with sugar, formed into a ball, glazed with egg yolk, and then baked. I’ve used a similar process and ingredient list to make this Japanese sweet potato casserole reflect the suito poteto wagashi, but added cinnamon to tie it together with the Thanksgiving dish of sweet potato casserole.

Japanese sweet potato casserole

I’m starting to see Japanese sweet potatoes, also known as satsuma-imo, popping up in regular grocery stores everywhere. They have reddish purple skin and pale white flesh and come in varying shapes and sizes. They’re a bit starchier and harder to cut than regular sweet potatoes and are a little less sweet, but they can be used in any way that you would normally use a regular sweet potato. I’ve had success mashing them, roasting them, even making thick-cut fries. They’re not too bad baked whole and slathered in butter either. 😉

If you see them in your local grocery or market give them a try, whether you use my recipe for Japanese sweet potato casserole or one of your own!

Update! This recipe can be found in my cookbook, The Japanese Pantry, along with other fun Japanese fusion foods such as crispy “popcorn” edamame .


Blogger potluck

I haven’t blogged in forever! For the last week or so I’ve been really busy cooking and photographing for the book since we’ve had a few more days of sunshine lately. Every time the sun is out I immediately think “Quick! While the light is good, take photos!”

This past weekend though, I didn’t do any of that. Jeff and I spent Saturday morning bottling our first batch of beer and then that evening I attended an Atlanta blogger potluck hosted at Lee’s house (Who also took this photo of us below, so she’s not in it. Thanks Lee!)

everyone at potluck

From left to right we have Emily, Tina, Stacy, Carol, Traci, Laura, myself, and Laura.

As you can imagine, food bloggers make for a really good potluck! We had:

  • Brie and apples on crakers
  • Olive tapenade toasts
  • Sweet potato tot casserole

Potluck spread 1

As well as:

  • a huge greek salad
  • Nutella sandwiched between vanilla cookies
  • chocolate pretzel cookies
  • chocolate zucchini muffins
  • broccoli salad

Potluck spread 2


  • a carrot cake
  • spinach artichoke dip with crackers and carrots
  • Japanese sweet potato casserole
  • WINE

Potluck spread 3

My contributions were the carrot cake and the Japanese sweet potato casserole. This is the same carrot cake that I made for Christmas, however this time it came out much drier than last time. Someone even commented that it kind of tasted “healthy.” Not my best work, but hey, even less than stellar cake is still CAKE!

My carrot cake for potluck

The casserole was a hit though. This is a recipe I’ve been working on for my cookbook so I knew it was pretty good, but I did not expect the rave response it got! Glad to know I’m on the right track!

My Japanese sweet potato casserole for potluck

We all loaded our plates up to overflowing then went back and did the same with the desserts.

My plate at potluck

It was 4 hours of crazy girl chat about everything from our favorite (and least favorite) blogs, to horror movies! This is a really fun group of girls, and I’m so glad we get to catch up with each other like this every so often. The potluck format was perfect for a bunch of foodies that like to talk!

Thanks again to Lee for hosting such a fun get-together!


A successful dinner party

Hello all.

Not too many interesting things have been going on around here lately. We’ve been busy finishing up the very last of our Christmas shopping and just enjoying some time off of work together. Jeff is cashing in his remaining vacation time so he doesn’t go back to work until January!

We did manage to squeeze in one more social event before the holiday. This past weekend we had our friends John and Emily over for a little dinner party. I love to cook fancy elaborate food but rarely have an occasion to, so it was nice to be able to cook something special for a change.

On the menu:

  • Roasted lamb leg with rosemary and whole garlic
  • Buttermilk mashed potatoes
  • Miso shiitake gravy
  • Honey soy glazed carrots
  • Apple butter cake with cinnamon cider buttercream

Yeah, it was as good as it sounds.

The lamb roast is a Jamie Oliver recipe that I’ve made several times before, and it’s been a hit every time.

Finished lamb roast

I used an entire head of garlic and a ton of rosemary. I’ll share the recipe tomorrow!

I used some of the pan drippings and a few of those cloves of garlic to make the most amazing shiitake mushroom gravy ever.

Miso shiitake gravy

Again, I’ll give you this recipe soon because it’s just insane, and you don’t need to use lamb drippings either when butter will work just fine.

The honey soy glazed carrots were soft and and lightly salty-sweet.

Honey soy roasted carrots

This recipe is super easy. Just 2 lbs. of carrots with a generous swish of soy sauce and a squirt or two of honey. They bake at 400 degrees for an hour covered in aluminum foil to hold in the moisture and keep the honey from burning.

And here’s a plate of everything…

My plate of lamb roast

I ended up pureeing the miso shiitake gravy for a better consistency. It was so good paired with the creamy potatoes and fragrant roasted lamb. I ate a few of those roasted garlic cloves by themselves too. I could seriously make a meal out of just roasted garlic and a good loaf of bread.

Dinner was served with a glass of Cardhu 12 year, a sweet and honey-like Scotch that suited the flavors of the dinner perfectly. Never mind that it’s in a Jack glass. I can’t even drink that stuff anymore, too sweet!

Cardhu in a Jack glass

And the jewel of the evening…cake!

Apple cake frosting

Apple cake edge

I have so many cake recipes bookmarked and I never have an occasion to make one. I modified this recipe to create this apple butter cake with cinnamon cider frosting. It had a damp banana bread texture and the frosting was smooth and not-too-sweet.

I’ll share my changes to the original recipe with you soon!

Slice of apple cake

I know for a fact that John and Emily loved the food, and I really enjoyed getting to make it for them. We were all feeling sleepy afterwards from stuffing ourselves and having a few too many whiskeys.

I had so much fun preparing this meal that I’m already scheming for future dinner parties. Recipes to come……!