Japanese Sweet Potato Snacks: Hoshi Imo and Yaki Imo
When it comes to Japanese snacks using sweet potatoes, I used to buy “Yaki-Imo (焼き芋)” as a kid from a small catering truck that passed my house almost every evening during cold winter months.
Yaki Imo is a good and old Japanese sweet potato snack typically either cooked in burning fallen leaves wrapped with aluminum foil or roasted directly in heated small pebbles. To make the most of the natural sweetness of the sweet potato, it is usually unseasoned.
Ishi-Yaki Imo (石焼きいも)
The sweet potatoes cooked in heated small pebbles are generally called “Ishi-Yaki Imo (石焼きいも: stone-baked potato)”, which is mainly offered by the catering truck in the street during the winter season.
Similar to Yaki Imo, “Hoshi-Imo (干し芋)” is another classic Japanese snack made of Japanese sweet potato called “Satsuma Imo (サツマイモ)”.
Hoshi Imo tastes like Yaki Imo because it is also unseasoned and has the natural sweetness characteristic of Satsuma Imo. But Hoshi Imo is different from Yaki Imo in that the sweet potato is steamed first, then dried in the sun.
Incidentally, the formal name of Hoshi Imo is “Kiriboshi Kansho (切干甘藷)” and it 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 but typically shaped like french fries, making the snack easy to eat. It is soft chewy with moderate moisture and slightly sticky.
Hoshi Imo is packed with nutrients. It has lots of dietary fiber and is rich in vitamin B1, vitamin C, potassium, and iron.
Where to Buy
We usually make Yaki Imo in the garden using fallen leaves, while Hoshi Imo is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores, but we don’t often make it at home for ourselves.