I first had these potato cakes at a croquette shop in the Northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. It was sold as “potato mochi” and although I wasn’t really hungry, my curiosity got the best of me and I ordered one to go. Crisp on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside it was glazed with an addictively sweet soy sauce and wrapped in a piece of nori, kind of like how I used to eat rice cakes as a kid.
The potatoes are boiled and mashed before being formed into little oval cakes. When fried, a crisp shell forms around the soft potato, making it a bit like a Japanese tater-tot. I decided to give the cakes a double fry to really get the outsides crisp, but it’s also a handy way to get this side ready ahead of time.
After they’ve been fried once, they can be stored in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use them. Just drop them in the fryer again before serving, until they reach a golden brown. Once you’ve glazed them, they do have a tendency to go soft, so you’ll want to wait until the very last minute to cover them with the sauce.
You could also really have fun with this concept. Try stuffing the potato cakes with cheese, or serving them with a creamy mushroom gravy
Potato Cakes with Sweet Soy Glaze
These potato cakes are boiled and mashed into little oval cakes. A crisp shell forms around the soft potato making a Japanese tater-tot. Food blogger Marc Matsumoto shares tips and variation ideas for this recipe in a full post on the Fresh Tastes blog.
- 800 grams Yukon Gold potatoes (28 ounces)
- 2 eggs, beaten (about 100 ml)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon potato starch
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup sake
- 1/2 cup sugar
- vegetable oil for frying
- plain nori, cut into 1”x2” rectangles
- Scrub the potatoes and add them whole to a pot. Cover with cold water, and then bring the pot to a boil. Turn down the heat to maintain a gentle boil, and cook until a fork easily passes through the largest potato.
- Drain the potatoes, and then let them cool enough so you can pick them up with your hands.
- Peel the potatoes and add them to the bowl of a food processor along with the egg and butter, and then sprinkle on the potato starch. Pulse the potatoes until they’re smooth. Be very careful not to over process the potatoes or they will end up gummy.
- Form the potatoes into flat oval cakes with your hands, then place on a baking sheet.
- To make the sauce, add the soy sauce, sake, and sugar to a pan and boil until the sauce is thick and syrupy. You’ll want to stir it constantly once it starts boiling to keep it from burning.
- Line a wire rack with 2 layers of paper towels.
- Add 1 ½ inches of oil to a pot and then heat to 360 degrees F (180 C). Fry the potato cakes in batches until light brown, then transfer to the prepared rack to drain. Once you’ve fried all the cakes once, fry them a second time until they reach a deep brown color and have a thick crispy skin.
- When you’re ready to serve the cakes, drizzle on the sauce, and then top with a piece of nori.
Yield: 12 cakes
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.