If you’ve ever sunk your teeth into a caramelized and roasted sweet potato from an Asian night market stall or a frozen one from a Taiwanese convenience store, you’ve tasted the magic of culinary alchemy and molecular science. The practice of freezing sweet potatoes before roasting has been practiced across Asia and made popular by social media and trends starting around 2021.
What Kind of Sweet Potatoes to Use
The Okinawan sweet potato leans towards a denser consistency, while the O’Henry stands out for its fluffiness. Orange yams can be stringy and fibrous, not ideal for achieving that velvety texture. The satsumaimo, or Japanese sweet potato, is most ideal for this technique. It’s no wonder why Asian night market vendors and street food hawkers almost always sell roasted Japanese sweet potatoes.
How To Buy Sweet Potatoes
As for choosing the sweet potatoes at the market, aim for a medium girth—too slender, and they might dry out; too thick, and they risk uneven cooking. Be wary of stringy or fibrous varieties, for they might not yield the dreamy texture you seek.
Will This Work With Regular Potatoes?
But what of the sweet potato’s more humble relative, the common potato? Its molecular makeup, with a higher amylose content, doesn’t play well with the freeze-then-roast method. It often emerges from the oven with a less appealing, grainy texture.
To Try This Method at Home:
Freeze your sweet potatoes of choice overnight.
Roast them from frozen at 455 F until blistered and caramelized and the skin easily peels off, about 70 minutes.
Enjoy once they are cool enough to handle, on their own or dusted with sugar.
Since freezing the sweet potatoes forms sharp ice crystals within that rupture the sweet potato’s cell walls, there’s no need to poke the skins before roasting.
Try freezing the sweet potatoes again for about four hours after roasting them. Enjoy as a “sweet-potato-freezie,” a vegan iced dessert!