Bonfire night recipe: candied sweet potato

It’s time for fireworks and toffee apples. Yes, it’s time for Bonfire Night. For something a bit different from apples, you can also coat sweet potatoes in sugar. Here’s a very simple recipe for doing just that. It’s a flexible recipe: you can use any type of frying oil you like, and you can cut your sweet potatoes into cubes or strips. I like doing them into smaller slices simply because I like more sugar than sweet potato. Hey, it’s not a healthy recipe by any means (you’re doing some serious frying and coating things in sugar), and we’re not going to eat this every day, so anything goes!

This is from a Chinese recipe where you’d normally cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and also create “threads” with the sugar afterwards to make it look pretty. I generally do that if I’m having this as a standalone dish, but this time it was a small side with the main meal. When you make this with sweet potato cubes, make sure that you don’t brown it as much as I’ve done. I like a crispier taste when having it as a side.

The below serves 2 as a side. You can easily scale it up.


1 sweet potato (roughly 300g)
100g cane sugar (ideally not brown sugar for this)
1 tablespoon sesame

You’ll also need oil for frying and half a cup of water. I used olive oil here.

Step 1: cover the bottom of a pan with oil, and make sure you have at least around half an inch of oil in the pan. Heat it on the hob.


Step 2: wash and peel the sweet potato, then cut it into slices, blocks or cubes. Dab it with some kitchen towel afterwards to make sure that you don’t have a lot of water sticking to it. You don’t want to injure yourself when putting it into hot oil…


Step 3: by now, the oil should be hot and ready for frying. If in doubt, dip a wooden chop stick or wooden spoon into the oil and you should see bubbles around it. Put in the sweet potato pieces and fry until slightly brown.


Step 4: remove the sweet potato and pour away most of the oil, leaving only enough to cover the bottom. Add the sugar and half a cup of water and stir. Heat the sugar until it becomes a thick paste (should take around 5 minutes).


Step 5: add the sweet potatoes and stir evenly.


Step 6: add the sesame on top and heat for around 1 minute. Spoon out and serve.


And that’s it! Enjoy your Bonfire Night, and let me know if you decide to cook anything special to celebrate.


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