So what’s better than eating your vegetables?
Eating your vegetables and winning dinner for two!!! At one of these lovely restaurants!!! Okay sorry I’m not talking about an opportunity for you. This is what I won, thanks to the VegOut! Challenge. During the month of March, they’re challenging all participants to eat 30 different vegetables in 30 days. Which basically means eat a lot more vegetables. Which everyone needs. Especially this guy, probably.
Anyway it’s a Houston-based challenge, but I think anyone can participate and it’s not too late to register! Do it! Then you too can win awesome prizes and the most awesome prize of all–fabulous health from eating vegetables 😉
(I won by submitting this veggie burger to their latest flash contest calling for the best cooked dish (i.e. no salads) with the most number of vegetables. Turns out between my fridge/pantry/freezer, I had 15 vegetables and that’s not even counting the canned tomatoes I’m saving for burrito bowls. Is this level of vegetable possession alarming?! Discuss.)
So this brings us to vegetables in pancakes. The inspiration for these pancakes came from reading about these (I no longer read her blog unless I know Asian food is within a four-hour reach). Dreamy chewy rice balls oozing with a sparkling trail of black sesame sugar caught my attention and would not let go and so, in what’s turning out to be a series of slightly blasphemous twists on Asian food, here we are with black sesame sweet potato pancakes.
The earthy, barely-sweet dough is simple—just roasted sweet potato flesh and enough rice flour to give some structure and chewiness. The black sesame sugar stuffed inside turns molten once cooked, yielding chewy little nuggets that unleash a river of melty black sugary goodness. They’re sort of a nod to hotteok, Korean pancakes that are typically filled with brown sugar or other sweeteners, and sort of a nod to Chinese glutinous rice dumplings stuffed with black sesame paste. Except that they walk the line of neither. In any case, they make excellent little doughy snacks and they are mostly VEGETABLE!
This dough was extreeeemely wet and a bit tough to manage. I have to warn you: it will take some wrestling. In the recipe, I note that you can add more flour to make the dough stiffer, but beware of adding too much for fear of a gluey dough. The tough part is forming the pancakes and getting their messy, gloppy selves into the pan—once they hit heat, they stiffen up and become neat, compact patties that look at you all innocently like “why do your hands look like they just murdered a pumpkin?”
Black Sesame Sweet Potato Pancakes
- For the black sesame sugar:
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- For the pancakes:
- 3/4 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (baking the potato yields the best and sweetest flavor, but you can also microwave or steam it)
- 10 tablespoons sweet rice or glutinous rice flour
- ½ tablespoon sugar more to taste
- white or black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- Rinse your sesame seeds in a very fine mesh strainer and then toast in a skillet over medium heat until they begin to pop. In a food processor, add the toasted sesame seeds and sugars. Process until fully combined and the seeds have reached the consistency of sugar (do not overprocess to a paste).
- Stir the sweet potato together with the sweet rice flour and sugar until fully combined. Add more rice flour, a tablespoon at a time if the dough seems unmanageable sticky. You can add additional sweetener to compensate for any added starch to taste.
- Start preheating a lightly greased pan over medium heat. Scoop out slightly mounded tablespoons of dough at a time and flatten in your palm. Fill with ½ teaspoon of black sesame sugar and gently fold the edges of the pancake over the mound of sesame sugar. This can be a finicky process; I’ve found wetting my hands with a little water helps keep the dough from sticking quite as much.
- Press a few sesame seeds on top (this is purely for aesthetic purposes).
- Nudge the tablespoon of dough directly from your palm into the pan. These are so delicate that I found I had to cook them as I made them; there can be no transferring of the pancakes from your palm to anywhere else lest you tear them.
- Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden. Eat warm!
Nora (A Clean Bake)
Ok obviously I have to try these as soon as possible, but all I have is squash puree (no sweet potato) in the house and I’m too lazy to go out. Do you think that would work ok?
Hmm I want you to be able to try these right away !! but I’m very hesitant to say yes because sweet potatoes are starchier than squash. Hrm. You could definitely give it a try and add a bit more sweet rice flour if it doesn’t seem to be dry enough (though again, this is a SUPER sticky dough!). Let me know how it goes if you try!!
I’m so excited to make these! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Awesome! Anytime, Megan 🙂
DEFINITELY making these this weekend. Oh my gosh. You had me at “river of melty black sugary goodness”! Huge yay for creating vegetable treats that also double as sweet indulgences. Genius! x
<3 If there wasn't enough warning in the post, the dough is INCREDIBLY sticky and gooey. But I think it's worth wrestling with :) Hope you love them!!
Wow, these kinds of things fall into the category of favoritest foods ever! Yet I’ve never made anything with glutinous rice flour. I have a recipe for pb filled ones and really like the idea of a sweet potato dough!
I’m doing veg out too! I’ve been sort of keeping up wit but but haven’t seen the challenges, might I have forgotten to follow on Facebook? Uh oh, I’ll have to check. I think I hit about 25 in the first week and a half of March then was slammed with work and have lived off of cereal and cookies for the last 2 weeks. My stomach hates me, can’t wait to get back to vegetable eating!
Perhaps we should potluck with Janet? I need to get together with her more before she leaves us for canada again! And she’s always cooking tasty things 🙂
Wow that is impressive–25 vegetables in a week and a half?!! You go girl 🙂 And yes, you should follow their blog/follow them on FB–it was seriously such a rush to win the contest! And YES!! I would love to potluck with Janet, especially if it helps your stomach love you again 🙂 I agree, I’m always drooling over her food. How do you guys know each other?? Let’s seriously set this up before she leaves!
Katie (The Muffin Myth)
These look great! In my mind they’re a little reminiscent of the sesame balls stuffed with red bean paste I used to snarf down in China town. I wonder if wet hands would help with taming the dough? Filing these away in the must-try category!
Ooh are you talking about jian dui (sp?)–like those little white balls covered in sesame seeds and stuffed with things?! I LOVE THOSE!!! These are totally in a similar ball park (chewy outsides, sweet insides) but sadly not deep-fried 🙁 Or happily for our arteries, I guess. I did find that wetting my hands helped a little when working with the dough, but it’s still just a very sticky dough. I hope you like them!! 🙂
These look super delicious and I love this take on savoury pancakes! Definitely need to give the recipe a go!
They’re actually more of a sweet pancake since the middle is filled with sugar–though the dough itself isn’t very sweet 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and I’d love to hear if you try them!
The vegan 8
These look delicious Erika!! I love, love sweet potatoes and that’s so creative adding sesame seeds to them. I bet that flavor combo is amazing! Congrats on the win too, I’m totally not surprised!! 15 veggies sounds like heaven to me 🙂
Thanks Brandi <3 I'm sure you could have come up with an even more creative concoction--you should enter their next contest!
Yummmm! I love anything that involves sweet potatoes! Awesome recipe.
Thanks Michelle 🙂
Nancy @ gottagetbaked
The Chinese white glutinous dumplings full of black sesame paste are one of my favourite things to eat in the world. Seriously. I go crazy over those things. This looks MUCH healthier and totally something I could successfully make. Thanks, girl! And congrats on winning the contest! 15 veggies in one dish? I don’t even think I eat 15 veggies in one week, which is pathetic and shameful and the reason why I am probably slowly coming down with a case of scurvy. I need to move in with you and eat all of your glorious healthy food. Chased down with a big dish of these black sesame stuffed pancakes!
Yes!!!! Though I haven’t had them in so long, so these tasted like the real deal to my disloyal taste buds. You could totally make these, Nancy 🙂 Consider this your open invitation to hire me as your personal chef anytime 🙂
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)
Wow these are so smart. Really smart actually!!! So inventive.
Thanks so much Jocelyn!