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Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

October 2, 2015

Baked Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries are crunchy on the outside and tender sweet and delicious on the inside tossed with a little cinnamon and sesame seeds and plunged into a delicious honey ginger soya sauce. A fun Jenga game and a healthy after school snack too! Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

I first posted this recipe back in March 23, 2012 and I have played plenty of Jenga and have eaten loads of Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries since then.

Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

I know you are probably wondering why this recipe got its name. About 7 years ago, our family move to Japan with nothing more than our luggage bags and we had no toys for the kids. This was really not a worry as we had a whole country to explore. However, in the evenings my boys needed something to do and what is better than playing with your food so I came up with this recipe for Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries to keep my boys entertained and happily fed.

Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

Have you ever played the board game called Jenga? Jenga is traditionally played with the wooden blocks and each player takes off a block from in between and then puts it back on top. However, in our case we just ate them instead. A very edible game and fun after school snack.With the actual Jenga board game, you have the chore of putting the wooden block together perfectly so it fits back into the box. With Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato fries, you just eat your mess. How perfect is that!

Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

I miss Japan and especially around the autumn time, I get especially sentimental. I miss going for walks in Negeishi Shirin Koen and listening to the dried leaves crackle under my feet and feeling the cool crisp air against my face. I miss the B1 floor of the SOGO department store in the Yokohama station where you can sample a little bit of of all of the delicious Japanese treats. One delicious treat that I love is called Candied Sweet Potatoes (Daigaku Imo, 大学芋) However this dish is fried and is not so healthy.  I wanted to create a low-fat, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free baked dish with reduced sweetness and made the ginger honey soya dip optional too.

Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

Living in Hong Kong, I still have access to all of the delicious Asian Autumn harvest and we have the purple sweet potatoes here with the bright purple skins and the light yellow interior. I scrubbed my sweet potatoes well and just leave the skins on as they add a delicious crunch and extra vitamins and minerals too. If you don't have access to an Asian market near you, you can use the Western orange sweet potatoes and they are just as delicious for this dish.

Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

Can you spot the non-conformist in the picture below? 

Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

When living in Japan, I used to marvel on how organized and methodical all things are. Trains are punctual to the second. Getting on and off public transport is like a ballet,  everyone gracefully stands to the side and lets the exiting passengers off first and then everyone enters quietly, organized and respectively. There is purpose and meaning to all movements. It is calming and comforting.

Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

People dress the same and uniformity and conformity are the norm. It is just precious to see all the little younger children with their matching hats, book bags and even umbrellas. Even as adults it is a comforting thing to be part of a group with certain attire guidelines.

Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

Hey I did not get the memo about wearing the fishing vest and backpack?

Attention to detail is paramount. Have you ever noticed in Japanese cooking, the little vegetables cut into flowers, the placement of little dishes set in front of you, or maybe admired the time mothers spend on creating the perfect cute little bento box for their children? Well maybe not everyone notices these little things, but I sure do.

Our eyes are the gateway to our stomachs. It must first look pleasing to the eye and then your lips and taste buds will follow. When deciding upon making my menu, today was not an exception. Japanese Sweet potatoes are lovely and you can make so many things with them from savoury to desserts. However, today I chose to make something a little healthier with my Jenga Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato fries  is just the kind of healthy snack you have been looking for.

Jenga Sweet Potato Fries / http://bamskitchen.com

LESS THAN 30 MINUTE DINNERS

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Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries

By HWC Magazine  , , , , , ,   

October 2, 2015

Baked Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries are crunchy on the outside and tender sweet and delicious on the inside tossed with a little cinnamon and sesame seeds and plunged into a delicious honey ginger soya sauce.

  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yields: 4 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager

Ingredients

japanese sweet potatoes - 10 (Asian sweet potatoes) or about 3 cups sliced into wedges

olive oil - 1 tablespoon

cinnamon - 1 teaspoon

sugar or sugar alternative - 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, coconut sugar, sugar alternative (optional)

salt - 1/4 teaspoon

sesame seeds - 1 tablespoon white

Honey Ginger Sauce

honey - 2 tablespoons

tamari (soy) sauce - 1 teaspoon

ginger - 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

1Preheat oven to 450 degrees or 230 degrees Celsius

2Wash and cut up sweet potatoes in lengthwise strips. You can remove the peel or leave it on as I have done ((FYI: immediately submerge fries into a dish of cold water with a little salt, to prevent the oxidation process)

3Dry off Japanese sweet potatoes thoroughly. In a bowl (or directly on your baking sheet) add sweet potatoes, olive oil, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar (coconut sugar or sugar substitute) and sesame seeds if desired. Mix well and place on baking sheet. Brown sugar is optional.

4Place Japanese Sweet potatoes on baking sheet and place in oven to bake for about 20-25 or until tender and golden brown.

5Optional - make the honey ginger soya sauce. In a small sauce pan add the honey, tamari/soy sauce and ginger to pan and cook until thick and bubbly. Set aside.

6Stack up your sweet potato fries and get ready for a hot game of Jenga. (If desired, you can serve plain or maybe try some honey ginger soya sauce.)

7 

00:00
  • I love your Japanese posts 😀
    They are always so cool – the non conformist 😛
    And these fries look fantastic – I am actually dying to eat the whole plate!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Hello CCU, I am glad you like the Japan posts. I am sure you could make these fries and come up with some yummy chocolate or nutella dip to plunge them into. Have a great weekend. BAM

  • I am positive that I would easily be able to fall into the Japanese way of life – I love order and things streamlined.
    Love roasted sweet potatoes.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Japanese culture is very strong and even after all these years traditions have remained constant. It is rare in other countries to see people wearing traditional dress during holidays but in Japan out come the traditional Kimonos and Geisha girls can still be found in certain regions. You would love the order and the rules. However, only Nihongo is spoken in many places so it is orderly but difficult until you get the language under your belt. Take care, BAM

  • Oh yum 🙂

  • Love sweet potato fries!

    • Me too. There is something in my brain that loves the sweet and the savory concept. They are full of vitamins and minerals as well.

  • I’d love to see a school assembly with all of the children wearing their brightly colored hats. I’ve not seen Japanese sweet potatoes but I bet your recipes would work just fine with our local variety.

    • The Japanese school children are just adorable. Near where we used to live as a part of the uniform they had a patch on their sleeve that said in Japanese “please help me cross the road safely” as many commute alone on the way to school, even the little 5-6 year olds. Using your local variety of sweet potatoes would work just fine. Have a great weekend. BAM

  • What a great recipe for sweet potatoes! And, your school children photos are adorable!

    • Thank you. I used to love helping the school children cross the road near where we lived. They used to always hold an adults hand to cross the street. Japan is such a safe place. Take care, BAM

  • Great recipes, and photos! LOVE the girl with the sneakers…
    When my youngest stepson spent his year in Paris, he was warned repeatedly about what the locals called Green Card Girls – I’m sure I needen’t elaborate. Ninteen year old boys needed to hear it on a weekly basis, though!

    • Oh Marie, you so understand why I have so many platinum blonds!

  • Such fun pictures! I love sweet potato fries (I actually prefer them to French fries). I still have some Japanese sweet potatoes left from a large haul so I should make these!

    • I also prefer sweet potato fries to regular fries. So many more vitamins and minerals and I love the sweet and savory combo.

  • Oh how I wish we could get these potatoes here!! They look so good! I have been on a rutabaga kick lately, not quite the same but healthier than a potato. 🙂

    • Jen, try this recipes with your rutabaga or other root veggies. It will be nice. Start a new trend!

  • I adore the idea of Jenga with your fries. So fun! And tasty, I bet.

    • Always on the pursuit of trying to find ways to help my teenagers try new foods.

  • Play and eat! Does it get better than that! 🙂

    • Who does not like to play with their food? Usually moms discipline their kids for playing and not eating but I gave them the full go ahead and it brought many smiles.

  • Sigh, your photos are making me miss Japan so much… It’s been years now since I last visited, but I do love the country, culture, and of course food, deeply. These fries sound wonderful, like a little taste of comfort. 🙂 If only I could find Japanese sweet potatoes..

    • Dear Hannah, I think of Japan as my second home and always will. Please feel free to exchange with USA yams/sweet potatoes. They are a bit different but will also work nicely.

  • Those sweet potato fries look absolutely delicious! What a nice recipe. Thanks for sharing! Also, I’m having a great giveaway today with four potential prize winners, so you should enter!

    • Thanks Georgia these Japanese Sweet Potato Fries would go delicious along with a tall glass of your Japanese iced tea. Take care, BAM

  • I’ve made buttersquash fries, but never sweet potato fries. The purple color is fantastic. Thanks for posting this.

    • Thanks for stoping by. I think all root veggies would be lovely baked like this. Maybe even as a mixture. Lots of colors, flavors, and vitamins. Can you get Japanese Sweet Potatoes where you live? Take Care, BAM

  • I’ve made something similar, but am really intrigued with the Japanese sweet potato.. and I love that you’ve left the skin on.. sugar.. cinnamon! Yummy! I love those little hats… adorable!!

    • Japanese sweet potatoes have a really interesting flavor. However, they really oxidize fast as soon as you cut into them. I love the skins extra crunch and extra vitamins and of course the cool purple color. Those little cute kids and their hats are just adorable it brings a smile to anyone’s face. I hope you have a super weekend. On a side note, Are you liking your new job? Take care, BAM

  • Brilliant to play jenga with hot chips! laughter.. these looked so good and i did enjoy your shots of japanese children, I have never been to japan! c

    • It adds a bit of dimension to the game when the fries are hot. You have to make your decisions and moves quickly. You should put Japan on your bucket list of places to visit.

  • These fries look amazing! We would love to play a hot game of Jenga at our house. Thanks for the beautiful peeks into Japanese life.

    • Your welcome Geni. Jenga can be a really competitive game at our house. Then to add the second layer of competing for food with teenagers. Yikes! Lots of delicious competition.

  • Jo-Lyn

    I have to take the plunge and make sweet potato fries, I have yet to this…. FAIL!!

    • Jo-Lyn

      yet to *do* this… ugh!

  • Great photos to illustrate your recipe. And eyes as a gateway to our stomachs – perfect!

    • Thanks I really do think our eyes are a gateway to our stomachs. If you put 2 dishes in front of me made identical and one is artistically plated and the other one thrown on the plate, of course my brain wants the one that is plated beautifully. I think we all wired the same way. Have a great weekend. BAM

  • Lisa

    Great post! Are you the non-conformist with the high tops? LOL You know…it would be nice to have a little more order in the US..especially the trains being on time and no one pushing and shoving to get on or off. That said, love Japanese sweet potatoes, and those fries are the bomb! I’m sorry, though..I can’t stop lusting after your Tex-Mex chicken phyllo roll below. Those fries would go great with it!

    • Thanks Lisa for your kind comments. Yep, the nonconformist is the high top wearer! I agree with you and having more social order. I currently live in Hong Kong. The first week we moved to HK I burst into tears as the people here are so aggressive and there is absolutely no rules or social order it is just who ever gets to the “teet” first wins. I miss the Japanese ways! Take Care, BAM

  • I think I can polish the whole plate by myself! Hehe. I like to play Jenga, my friends and I always started screaming and shouting when the blocks are losing their balance, it’s a noisy but fun game!

    • Im have to admit I almost did eat the entire plate myself. I love the black sesame sauce. Take care, BAM

  • Hehe, I love jenga – what a fun theme for a post, and I loved reading this post 🙂 I don’t think I ever had Japanese sweet potatoes before – they look so cute – and a I bet these are absolutely delicious!

    • Thanks Charles, Jenga is a real fun game but even more fun when you play it with edible parts. If you cannot get Japanese sweet potatoes, you can substitute Yams or traditional sweet potatoes. Have a great weekend. BAM

  • My mother just LOVES sweet potato fries and I honestly think she will love this recipe. I can’t wait to show this to her.. let see how long it takes her to make this lol

  • Oh wow! I am usually not a big fan of fries, unless they are sweet potato fries or yam fries!!! Yummy!! Should definitely give this a try! This totally reminds me of my childhood days in Singapore when I had to wear uniform all the time. Oh and for the “spot the non-conformist” picture, I initially thought it was that one girl had shorter hair! Then I realized the bright shoe one girl was wearing. hehehe.. We’d definitely get punished for that if it was my school. lol.

    • You would really get punished at your school if you were wearing high top tennis shoes and thinking about “Chewing gum” in Singapore! Glad all those kind of school days are behind us. I hope your day is grand! Take Care, BAM

  • You had me at “sweet potato” … fries are the best!

    • Thank you. Sweet Potato fries are kind of sweet and simple. Take care, BAM

  • Wow, Bobbi! I am loving these Baked Jenga Japanese Sweet Potato Fries. Ah! and I love how crunchy + tender they are. I bet cinnamon and sesame seeds must have added a delicious flavors. I wish I could have these now! 🙂

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Anu! So crispy, I have to warn you they are addicting so it is a good thing they are baked.

  • I love Japanese sweet potatoes. Once you start eating it, you may not be able to stop because it is really good. Thank you, Bobbi! 🙂

  • Hi Bam, love your posts about Japan, sounds like such a wonderful country and people. The fries sound delicious, especially the dipping sauce.

  • So glad you reposted this one Bam! I love the playing with your food idea – particularly after not packing any toys. Very timely for us. 🙂

  • Japanese sweet potatoes are seriously one of my favorite eats on earth! I have a big baked one almost everyday (I buy them regularly from the Asian market). So this is right up my alley…and really nice to read your memories and thoughts on Japan.

  • Love these sweet potato fries. Looks so yummy!

  • You are one special mom! My mom never let us play with food, lol. I hope you visit Japan soon, there’s so much melancholy in your story. The fries look yummy! Pinned

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Jas… I know playing with our food was taboo when I was growing up too so that made it even more fun to do with my kids. Japan is a great destination for a holiday and there are so places to choose from and depending on the time of the year there is everything from sakura -(cherry blossom) viewing to skiing in Hakaido to enjoying pickles in Kyoto…

  • These fries sound great and so does the honey-ginger dipping sauce! Thanks for sharing a little about your life in Japan, too!

  • Priya Shiva

    wow! Love your post! I would love to bring some discipline in my family including me 🙂 I love honey ginger combo and will definitely try this out!

  • Liz

    I think the US could take a few lessons from the Japanese! I used to love playing Jenga–I need to see if we still have the game in the basement. If not, it’s a good excuse to make your yummy sweet potato fries!

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    I can’t think of a better way to play with your food. 🙂 What wonderful memories. You were brave to move with two little boys and no toys!

    • Bams Kitchen

      I feel almost guilty doing it as our moms always told us not to play with our food, but why not… that was just silly rule anyways. Moving with 2 boys internationally was a challenge but after you do a move once it gets easier the next time. Take care

  • hotlyspiced

    You have wonderful memories of being in Japan. I do hope you get to go back on year during autumn. These sweet potatoes look really good, Bam and I love how while in Japan, these were ‘toys’ xx

  • I remember your sweet potatoes. I think I will make them for my brother and his family while they are here visiting. The kids will love the jenga stack.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Bams Kitchen

      Hiya Mandy , have a great visit with your brother and family. I know they will love your cooking. If you have younger kids visiting, they will love this interactive eating game.

  • You get creative mom award for sure coming up with jenga Japanese sweet potato fries! I bet the boys loved playing with their food and didn’t miss the toys! The honey ginger sauce sounds wonderful. Such simple ingredients too!

  • Love that you let the kids play with their food. We had an abundance of sweet potatoes a while back, and the fries went down very well 🙂

  • Bobbi – I am so loving this idea of yours – fantastic my friend! Your boys must have LOVED playing Jenga and then eating their Jenga fries! Your version is so so much more fun than the traditional one – And your fries are so gorgeous – love the color of these potatoes

  • This is wonderful!! This is such a wonderful idea Bobbi because I am all for playing with food!! Plus edible Jenga? Yes please! The fries look delicious too! I felt a wonderful sense of calmness when you spoke about Japan. There is something comforting in feeling that sense of belonging 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this with us at #SaucySaturdays!

  • oh my friend this is fantastic, I love that you call them jenga fries, you make me smile xo

  • Even better the second time around, BAM. Buongiorno!

  • Molly ~ EasycookingwithMolly

    Such beautiful pictures Bam and the Japanese sweet potato fries looks so delicious – I wish they could magically appear in my hands some how 😉 We love Jenga at our home too.

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you Molly. If you lived a little closer, I would send a plate with a little dipping sauce right on over. Enjoy your weekend!

  • I discovered Japanese sweet potatoes a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love with them. I’ve never made fries so I’m looking forward to given this a go. Thanks for the groups shots of Japanese culture. Gotta love the non-conformist. 🙂

  • shihoko67

    Look delicious. Japanese sweet potatoes are my favourite and now I can buy them here in Australia too.

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