Hoshi Imo and Yaki Imo : Classic Japanese Sweet Potato Snacks
When it comes to Japanese sweet potato snacks, I used to buy “Yaki-Imo (焼き芋)” from a catering vehicle that passed my house almost every evening during the winter season.
Yaki Imo is a classic Japanese sweet potato snack typically cooked in burning fallen leaves with aluminum foil or roasted in heated small pebbles.
The Yaki Imo snack is usually unseasoned and makes the most of the natural sweetness of the sweet potato.
Ishi-Yaki Imo (石焼きいも)
When the sweet potato is cooked using heated small pebbles, it is generally called “Ishi-Yaki Imo (石焼きいも)”, which is mainly offered by the catering vehicle in the winter season.
As with Yaki Imo, “Hoshi-Imo (干し芋)” is a classic snack in Japan made of Japanese sweet potato “Satsuma Imo (サツマイモ)”.
Hoshi Imo is similar in taste to Yaki Imo because the sweet potato snack is also unseasoned. But Hoshi Imo is different from Yaki Imo in the cooking method. The sweet potato is steamed first, then dried in the sun.
The formal name of Hoshi Imo is “Kiriboshi Kansho (切干甘藷)”, and the dried steamed sweet potato is also called “Kansou Imo (乾燥芋)”, “Kipposhi (きっぽし)” or “Imo-Kachi (いもかち)”.
Hoshi Imo is available in various shapes in Japan, but it often has a square bar shape, making the snack easy to eat.
Hoshi Imo contains moderate moisture. The sweet potato is slightly sticky and soft chewy. As with Yaki Imo, Hoshi Imo is characterized by its natural, gentle sweet taste.
Hoshi Imo is packed with nutrients. It has lots of dietary fiber and is rich in vitamin B1 and C, potassium, and iron.
Where to buy Hoshi Imo Snacks
We usually make Yaki Imo at home using fallen leaves, while Hoshi Imo is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores, and we doesn’t often make it for ourselves.