The first time I had sweet potato rice was at a friend’s house. She handed me some bowls and asked me to help dish out the rice. Opening up the rice cooker, I was pretty surprised and confused to find sweet potatoes nestled in the steamed rice. Growing up, the rice cooker cooked rice and only rice. But it wasn’t a mistake and actually, the rice with sweet potatoes ended up being one of my favorite parts of dinner. Which says a lot, because she’s an awesome cook.
Imo-gohan, Japanese for sweet potato rice, is one method for livening up plain white rice. The sweet potatoes, as they cook, lend a hint of sweetness to the rice and give it an overall unique flavor. You can use Japanese sushi rice to give the dish a stickier texture.
Sweet Potato Rice
3 c. jasmine rice
3 c. water
1 medium or 2 small sweet potatoes
1 t. kosher salt
2-1/2 T. rice wine
2 T. sesame seeds, toasted
Scrub and clean the sweet potatoes well, then cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside. In a rice cooker, wash the rice and add 3 c. water (or add water up to the number “3” fill line). Add the salt, rice wine and sweet potato pieces, mix well. Try to “bury” some of the sweet potato pieces in the rice grains–this may be tricky as the potatoes tend to float, but it is better not to have all the potatoes cooking on top of the rice. Set the rice cooker to cook. Once the rice cooker has gone to the “warm” setting, allow the rice to sit for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, until sesame seeds are a light golden brown color. Fluff the rice and spoon into bowls, evenly distributing the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.