The inspiration for these pancakes came from reading about these. In a twist on those chewy rice balls oozing with black sesame sugar, 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 is quite wet and a bit tough to manage. 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.
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!