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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ginger-Miso Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Lately, I have been missing Hawaii. A lot. I miss the weather, the feeling I get driving around an island I know so well, the house I grew up in, my favorite restaurants, eating papayas and driving up to my uncle's house to swim in the pool and make sushi. Funny how the familiar is so synonymous with what we find to be comforting. I also miss going to my brother's house to watch his Japanese wife, Hiromi, cook authentic Japanese food. You should see her freezer--everything is neatly plastic-wrapped into single serving squares. She is a nabe magician. I am always fascinated watching her cook because she doesn't use recipes, she pours stuff out of colorful packages with no english on it and she, like any good cook, goes by taste and has an extensive palate for the salty and umami flavors of Japan.

I am not so graceful in the kitchen--When I cook Japanese food, it's always a shot in the dark as I hope to make magic out of the trusty staples of mirin, rice vinegar, miso, sake and soy. With various quantities and combinations of those five ingredients, I'm convinced, magic can be made.

For these sweet potatoes, I simmer down some miso, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar and water until it becomes a nice, thick syrupy glaze. Then I brush the roasted sweet potatoes with the glaze, sprinkle some sesame seeds on it and put it under the broiler for just a couple of minutes to seal in all the flavor.

I like to serve it with some steamed veggies and a bowl of brown rice.


* 2 or 3 large sweet potatoes, washed and cut in quarters
* 1 cup water
* 2 tsp. ginger sugar (or 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated finely)
* 1 Tbsp. white miso
* 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
* 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced finely
* 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
* 1/2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Note: If you like a little citrus flare with your sweet potatoes, substitute out 1/3 cup of the water for 1/3 cup of orange juice.


* Heat oven to 400 degrees.
* Wrap each piece of sweet potato individually in foil and bake until fork tender, usually about 30-40 minutes.
* While the sweet potatoes are roasting, combine all of the rest of the ingredients except for the sesame seeds and cook in a pot on medium heat for about 12-15 minutes or until sauce reduces by at least half.
* Unwrap the foil and place sweet potatoes in a baking tray and drizzle ginger-miso glaze over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with sesame seeds and place under a broiler for 3-5 minutes.

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