Imo Karinto: Japanese Candied Sweet Potato Snack
Have you ever heard of “Karinto (かりんとう)”? Karinto is a type of Wagashi confection consisting of deep-fried wheat flour dough candied with brown sugar. Since a long time ago, in Japan the brown candied flour dough has been enjoyed by common people as a kind of Dagashi snack.
For the unfamiliar, “Wagashi (和菓子)” is the generic name for traditional Japanese sweets, while “Dagashi (駄菓子)” is the Japanese word for cheap (and unique) Japanese snacks and candies whose price ranges from 10 yen (about 0.1 USD) to about 100 yen (about 1 USD).
So the majority of Karinto snacks are inexpensive and can be bought everywhere in Japan, but there also exist expensive luxurious Karinto that are produced by old-established Wagashi shops.
Imo Karinto (芋かりんとう)
In modern times, Karinto comes in various variants and what I bought this time is made with sweet potatoes or “Satsuma Imo (さつまいも)”, not from wheat flour.
“Imo (芋)” is the Japanese word for potato, and the classic Japanese snack “Imo Karinto (芋かりんとう)” consists of deep-fried sweet potato sticks candied with sugar. Although the candied sweet potatoes look like french fries, they are more crispy and brittle.
Imo Karinto is generally known as “Imo Kenpi (芋けんぴ)” in Japan and made only from sweet potato shreds and sugar (granulated sugar). Based on this article on the Japanese recipe site Nadia, the making of Imo Karinto or Imo Kenpi is as follows.
- Sweet potato shreds (5 mm wide, 250 g) are rinsed with water and the wetness is removed with some paper
- The potato shreds are deep-fried in a frying pan with plenty of oil for about 15 minutes, over medium heat, until crispy
- Heat a mixture of water (2 tablespoons) and sugar (about 30g) in another pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gooey. Then, add in the deep-fried sweet potatoes and coat well
- Let them cool down on some sheet and enjoy!
Ingredients and Nutrition Facts
Lastly, here are the ingredient list and nutrition facts of the Imo Karinto (Kenpi) I have now. According to that, made only with Satsumaimo sweet potato, vegetable oil, and sugar, a bag of the Imo Karinto (100 g) has 487 kcal.