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If your family needs potatoes to round out a meal, air fry some delicious Japanese sweet potato slices. Known as satsumaimo Japan, where whole roasted sweet potatoes are a street snack, these fiber-rich veggies have much less sodium, fat, and cholesterol than regular fries and provide a healthy carb boost.
How To Air Fry Japanese Sweet Potato
Air frying is an excellent way to reduce fat in your diet. Making fries out of Japanese sweet potato is a healthy meal prep option. The American Heart Association gives this fast-food alternative its seal of approval. They’re vegan, gluten-free, and low-fat.
Here’s how you air fry Japanese sweet potato.
Choose Fresh Sweet Potatoes
Japanese sweet potatoes are plump root vegetables with beautiful pink skin and yellow flesh. They differ from the regular yams you find in the produce section and the Okinawan sweet potato, which is bright purple.
Look out for Japanese sweet potatoes at Asian supermarkets, organic stores, and natural food markets or coops. The best specimens are slender, with smooth skin. Don’t buy wrinkled, sweet potatoes, and avoid any with bruises, mold, or broken skin.
Keep your Japanese sweet potatoes in a cool, dry cupboard with good ventilation if you’re not using them immediately.
If you bought an extra bag of sweet potatoes to save for later, you can always freeze them without blanching.
Wash And Dry
Japanese sweet potatoes don’t need peeling, so wash and dry them thoroughly to remove any pesticides or residual earth. Here’s what to do:
- Soak the sweet potatoes in clean, cool water for a couple of minutes, especially if they have dirt on them.
- Scrub the potatoes with a soft vegetable brush.
- Rinse them thoroughly.
- Dry the potatoes with a paper towel; they must be dry to crisp well.
I’ve made these fries both skin-on and peeled. Don’t bother peeling: apart from the time and effort, the skins are full of nutrition. They also help keep the fries’ shape and make them super crispy.
Trim And Slice
Begin by trimming any fibrous or bruised bits with a sharp paring knife. Your next step is deciding on which shape to slice the potatoes:
- For round slices like potato chips, remove the pointed ends. Carefully slice into rounds.
- If you would like regular French fries, slice off the ends of the potato, then slice it in half – this helps you keep the fries an even size. Cut each half-moon into half-inch fires (or your desired thickness).
- Cut the sweet potato into chunks or cubes if you want “roast” potatoes or into wedges. Be careful not to make the pieces too big, or they won’t cook evenly.
My family prefers their fries on the thicker side. If you’re a thin-fry lover, you must halve the half-inch sticks. It’s handy to remember that these fries shrink a bit in the air fryer, so rather err on the thicker side.
Although Japanese sweet potato fries are delicious with just a pinch of salt, adding other spices to ring the changes is fun. Before air frying:
- Combine your chosen spices: chili flakes, curry powder, cumin, paprika, onion or garlic powder, five-spice powder, basil, oregano, salt, and black pepper are all tasty options.
- Add the sweet potato and toss.
- Add a tablespoon of oil or spray with an oil spray. Olive oil works well.
I sometimes like to make a sweet version of these air-fried sweet potatoes. Instead of the salty, savory flavors, I sprinkle them with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup before frying: they’re a winner for the holiday table.
The advantage of making fries in an air fryer is that you use a lot less oil – one tablespoon is enough for a whole pound of potatoes. If you usually eat deep-fried foods, air frying is a healthy alternative.
- If your air fryer has a preheat setting, warm up the air fryer to 400⁰F.
- Spread out the fries or cubes in the basket: a single layer means each piece gets crispy. Instead, cook two batches, then risk steamed potatoes in an overcrowded basket.
- Air fry for 6-10 minutes.
- Turn the fries using tongs and add an extra oil spray if they aren’t looking crisp. (Japanese sweet potatoes are starchy and need more moisture than regular potatoes.)
- Air fry for an additional 6-10 minutes or until the fries are crunchy and brown on the outside but still moist and fluffy on the inside.
My air fryer crisps sweet potato fries perfectly at 400⁰F. You’ll need to experiment with yours: my one friend swears by a temperature of 425⁰, while my sister prefers 300⁰ as she finds the fries char too quickly at higher temperatures. Don’t go lower than 300⁰F (150⁰C), as the fries won’t crisp up, and you’ll end up with limp, soggy potatoes.
These fries are best hot, dipped into the condiment of your choice: ketchup, mayo, and sriracha are all tasty. Choose yogurt or tomato-based dips over cream and cheese to keep the meal low-fat. This is one of the budget-friendly, easy-to-prepare and healthy air fryer meal recipes I ever tried.
In the unlikely event of having any fries leftover:
- Let the air-fried sweet potatoes cool completely. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to five days.
- I recommend heating your food in the air fryer for a few minutes– they’re not ideal cold and go soggy in the microwave.
- Air-fried sweet potato does not freeze successfully.
5 Ways To Eat Air-Fried Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Japanese sweet potatoes are a versatile vegetable, as they have the tender sweetness of yams but the starchy texture of regular potatoes. They, therefore, maintain their shape when air-fried and can be served in different ways. Here are some ideas:
- Slice the sweet potato into thin, round chips using a mandoline or food processor. Air fry and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Use instead of chips for dipping in hummus.
- Enjoy sweet potato chips or fries instead of nachos, and top them with chili, black beans, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.
- Air-fried Japanese sweet potato can replace toast for making a gluten-free tuna melt or avocado smash.
- Serve sweet potato fries as a side with an air fryer turkey burger or BBQ. Load them with cheese and bacon for a treat.
- You can air fry Japanese sweet potatoes whole in the air fryer. Instead of chopping the potatoes, pierce them with a fork and season. Cook for 40 minutes at 370⁰F (190⁰C) or until tender.
Why You Should Eat More Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Japanese sweet potatoes are the perfect alternative to regular potatoes or other starchy veg. One serving will give you the following nutrients:
- Complex carbohydrates: The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults get at least half of their daily calories from complex carbohydrates, and eating a portion of sweet potato gives you a fifth of the RDA.
- Fiber: A Japanese sweet potato provides about a quarter of your daily fiber needs.
- Vitamins and minerals: Like other sweet potatoes, these are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, B, C, and E are crucial for a healthy immune system. They’re also a hearty source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which help regulate your blood pressure.
- Protein: Because sweet potatoes contain plant protein, they are ideal for vegans.
- No fat or cholesterol: However, you will lose these significant benefits if you drown your sweet potato in butter, sour cream, or mayo.
Air frying Japanese sweet potatoes are an excellent way of preparing these high-fiber vegetables, as they are naturally low in fat and cholesterol. They make a tasty and nutritious alternative to regular fries, potato chips, nachos, and roast potatoes.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.