Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dual coloured sweet potato chakin shibori

After my last post regarding the use of purple sweet potatoes, I immediately went to get more of it the next week I was near the market. In fact, I got two bags of it. Can't blame me - they were really sweet!

Sweet potatoes -  a mix of yellow and purple fleshed

Purple canvas of mashed sweet potatoes

I normally enjoy eating sweet potatoes just as it is. In my opinion, the best way of eating sweet potatoes is actually barbeque-ing them, but as I don't actually have barbeques at my place all the time, the next best alternative would be to steam the sweet potatoes. Oh, and I've also actually baked sweet potato fries before using the common orange fleshed sweet potatoes. Lightly seasoned with salt, dried herbs, and olive oil, they tasted fantastic as a relatively healthy snack to nom on.

For these purple sweet potatoes that I got, I decided to try making something I saw in a Japanese desserts book. I had borrowed the book on seasonal wagashi (わがし), a traditional Japanese confectionary that is normally served together with tea. And I was particularly enamoured with most of the autumn wagashi desserts - which are mostly focused on sweet potato and chestnut themed sweet treats.

As I had happened to have a few yellow fleshed sweet potatoes in the fridge too, I decided to make one of those beautiful wagashi treats. These dual coloured sweet potato chakin shibori are really easy to make. The term chakin shibori (茶巾絞り) simply refers to the motion of twisting and shaping of the wagashi confections in a muslin cloth.

Although the taste of the finalised product is quite similar to plain mashed sweet potatoes, I think the look of the product (so pretty!) really brings much more pleasure in consuming it. I guess it is unfair to say that it taste exactly like plain mashed sweet potatoes. The wagashi had a more defined flavour - perhaps with the addition of the flavourings. Even though the quantity of the flavourings were not much, (for example, I could taste a hint of the rum), it was still noticeable in the overall taste. And also, the flavourings also created a smoother and a more melt-in-the-mouth dough. Niceeeee.

Dual coloured sweet potato chakin shibori (adapted from Sakurai Keiko's Seasonal Wagashi)
(makes 10 wagashi)

Yellow sweet potato dough
100g yellow sweet potato
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp milk (more to taste)
1/4 tsp rum

Purple sweet potato dough
100g purple sweet potato
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp milk (more to taste)
1/4 tsp rum

Wash the sweet potatoes and pat dry. Steam the sweet potatoes till cooked and peel and remove the skin. Place the two different coloured sweet potato pieces into two bowls, and mash. 
Add flavourings into each bowl and continue mashing to mix in the flavourings. Add a bit more milk (bit by bit) if required, to get a smooth mixture. (I added quite a bit more milk for the yellow sweet potatoes as the actual consistency was significantly drier than the purple sweet potatoes.) 
Divide the two colours of the sweet potato dough into ten equal ball portions (ten for each colour) - I used a a weighing scale to measure out the portions.
Place a piece of each coloured sweet potato dough into a piece of cloth. Twist the cloth and shape. Open the cloth and let the top of the sweet potato ball form a slight peak.
Repeat with remaining sweet potato doughs. Serve.


  1. very pretty indeed! i hv this book as well and the author makes wagashi look so simple to make. i think u can even use it to make purple sweet potato mont blanc since the ingredients are like what you'd use for mont blanc - rum, butter etc. i wanna make my own shiro-an (white bean paste) one day hehe. 

  2. yeps, her recipes do sound really simple. i cant wait to make the rest of her sweet potato themed wagashis.  i think perhaps i'll attempt a purple sweet potato/pumpkin  mont blanc in future! hehe.

  3. oO love the colors! your recipes are always so different from everything else i see :)

  4. The pictures are just unbelievable: CONGRATS!!!!!!!
    I recently wrote an article on the health benefits of sweet potatoes: check it out


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