Imo Karinto: Japanese Candied Sweet Potato Snack
Have you ever heard of “Karinto (かりんとう)”?
Karinto is a Wagashi confection made from wheat flour dough deep-fried in oil and candied with brown sugar.
The fried dough stick is regarded as a Dagashi and has been enjoyed among the general public since a long time ago.
For the unfamiliar, “Wagashi (和菓子)” is the generic name for traditional Japanese sweets.
Meanwhile, “Dagashi (駄菓子)” is the word for cheap, unique Japanese snacks and candies whose price ranges from 10 yen (about 0.1 USD) to about 100 yen (about 1 USD).
Therefore, the majority of Karinto snacks are inexpensive and can be bought everywhere in Japan.
But Karinto also comes in luxurious expensive varieties, which are produced by old-established Wagashi shops or Wagashiya.
Imo Karinto (芋かりんとう)
In modern times, Karinto is also available 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 this “Imo Karinto (芋かりんとう)” consists of deep-fried sweet potato sticks candied with sugar.
Although these 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)” made only with 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 a paper towel.
- The potato shreds are deep-fried until crispy over medium heat in a frying pan with plenty of oil for about 15 minutes.
- Heat a mixture of water (2 tablespoons) and sugar (about 30 g) in another pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gooey.
- Then, add in the deep-fried sweet potatoes and coat well.
- Let the potatoes cool down on a cooking sheet, and enjoy!
Ingredients and Nutrition Facts
Lastly, here are the specific ingredients and nutrition facts of the Imo Karinto (Kenpi) I have now.
According to the labels, made only with Satsumaimo (sweet potato), vegetable oil, and sugar, the Japanese treat has 487 kcal per bag (100 grams).