VIDEO: Japan Kitchen: Daigakuimio, a taste of college

Photos by Shoji Kudaka
Photos by Shoji Kudaka

VIDEO: Japan Kitchen: Daigakuimio, a taste of college

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

When it comes to the food college students consume, your thoughts may immediately go to instant ramen or a number of unhealthy snacks. But, during Japan’s economic recession in 1927, college students at Tokyo University were making do with a simple, flavorful, fried and glazed sweet potato dish called daigakuimo.

The name daigakuimo literally translates to “college potato” as the dish was a hit amongst the college crowd, according to the Nihon Imorui Kenkyu Kai, an association dedicated to potato research. The dish doesn’t require many ingredients but boasts an exceptionally rich flavor thanks to the soy sauce, sugar, and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), and other ingredients.

Although it may have started as a lifeline for hungry students, daigakuimo’s popularity as a beloved side dish and healthy snack has transcended age groups over the course of history.

Today, you’ll find daigakuimo in the deli section of your local Japanese supermarket, but the recipe is easy enough to make at home, whether you’re a college student or not. So, give it a try!




Sweet potato (3 to 4 pieces, roughly 1kg in total)

Sugar (30 cc)

Soy sauce (15 cc)

Mirin/sweet cooking rice wine (30 cc)

Salt (1 pinch)

Black sesame (a little)



1 Wash and rinse sweet potatoes with water.

2 Chop them into chunks.

3 Soak the chunks in water for 5 minutes.

4 Put the chunks on a heat-resistant plate and wrap it with Saran wrap.

5 Microwave the sweet potatoes for 5 minutes. The sweet potatoes will turn yellow.

6 Wipe off extra moisture from the sweet potatoes with a paper towel.

7 Fry the sweet potatoes in a pan for 5 minutes over medium heat. Their surface will become crispy.

8 Add sugar, soy sauce, mirin/sweet cooking rice wine, and salt in a pot/pan and heat the mixture over medium heat.

9 Add the fried sweet potatoes once the mixture starts to bubble. Mix the chunks and the sauce well.

10 Stop heating once their surface starts to glisten. Sprinkle black sesame.

11 いただきます(Bon appetite)!

*The above info is based on a recipe provided by Cookpad, a website dedicated to recipes.

*I set the microwave at 600W for this recipe.

*Once the food is ready and plated, make sure to add water to the pot/pan to boil. This will help remove excess sauce and prevent it from sticking to the surface of your pot/pan. Then, wash immediately.

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