Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I guess this is Japanese?

It's interesting how there are so many ingredients in Japan that I have yet to sample, many of which are available in the US. I find myself eating new ingredients and foods from Japan for the first time in the US...

At Bobby and Margaret's dinner party, I encountered yet another foreign Japanese ingredient - murasaki imo, literally translated to its English name, the purple potato, aka Hawaiian or Okinawa potato. Although Okinawans also eat this purple potato, my quick look through Japanese websites suggest that it is enjoyed else where as well...

potato
Fellow party-goer, Larry, brought along a clipping about the potato from Sunset magazine, which gave me some background. I did a little bit of Googling and found that the Japanese even make vinegar out of it. I wonder if I would be able to find purple potato shochu/soju... That would make for a festive drink!

The potato itself was very reminiscent of other sweet potatoes. The flesh was tender and soft without being too starchy. There was a subtle roasted scent to the meat itself, which I believe is inherent in the potato instead of the cooking method. The sweetness was very natural and not at all overwhelming.

Apparently, there are many different varieties of purple potatoes and the lighter colored ones tend to fall apart too easily for most cooking methods, while the lighter colored ones are more suited for most potato applications; the dark ones will give a nice red color to rice if cooked alongside rice, according to the Japanese government.

I'll have to experiment some more with this intriguing new find!

5 comments:

Ma-chan said...

My mom bakes bread using Murasaki-imo - interesting purple bread. She also bakes Yomogi bread (green).

The Papa Bear said...

The Vietnamese also eat these purple potatoes, but as far as I can recall, most people just steamed or boiled them and eat them by themselves.

umetaro said...

everyone in hawaii eats it. they call it "okinawan sweet potato" there. my gramma used to make them for me every day and i'd eat the whole thing, skin and all. in fact, i almost choked to death on one because i'm a huge oinker.

you can get some in japantown at one of the grocery markets on post. they get new shipments from hawaii on either tuesday or thursday.

umetaro said...

forgot to mention, i've made habanero chili with this and it came out all right.

Anonymous said...

Yes I've had shocu, it's a little like tequila and can give you a nasty hang over. Also the purple potatoes make great manju.