Today I’m going to introduce you to two kinds of Korean sweet potato desserts or snacks. The first one is called “ppottetto” (뽀떼또) and it’s Korean sweet potato fries, which are thinner and crunchier than French Fries. When I was young, I used to buy ppottetto after school. Everybody called the crunchy sweet potato strips ppotteto. I never thought about why it was called “ppottetto,” but now I realize the word must have come from “potato!”
Matang (마탕) is a very delicious snack. It’s chunks of fried sweet potato coated in translucent hot brown syrup. They are sweet and super crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside! Freshly made matang is so hot that I used to burn my tongue when I ate it.
Don’t forget to bite into it though. You’ll enjoy the crunchiness between your upper and lower teeth, and the sweet, soft, fluffy, creamy sweet potato will be melting in your mouth. This is another easy recipe, but making good coating syrup is a little tricky and takes skill. Well made matang will look like shiny candy.
Crunchy sweet potato fries (Ppottetto: 뽀떼또)
1 pound of sweet potato, vegetable oil.
- Peel a sweet potato. Rinse, drain, and dry it with paper towel.
- Cut it into thin strips 1/3 -1/4 inch thick and 5-6 inch long.
- Put about 5 cups of canola oil (or vegetable oil) in a wok or frying pan and heat it up for about 7-8 minutes.
- Add the sweet potato strips to the heated oil. Fry about 6-8 minutes until crunchy and golden brown.
- Put them in a paper towel to remove excess oil and serve.
Crunchy candied sweet potato (Matang: 마탕)
Prepare your potato:
- Peel a 1 pound Korean sweet potato.
- Rinse it in cold water and dry it with paper towel or cotton cloth.
- Slice it into chunks that look like smooth-edged triangles, about 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick.
- Put 5 cups of vegetable oil into a wok or frying pan and heat it up.
- Fry the chunks of the the sweet potato over medium high heat for about 6-8 minutes until golden brown.
*tip: You can tell if the oil is hot enough to fry by dipping the tip of a sweet potato chunk into it. If it bubbles, it’s the right temperature to fry.
Make coating syrup:
- In a thick bottomed pan, add 1 tbs vegetable oil spread the oil by moving the pan around.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup of white sugar on over the oil evenly.
- Heat it up over medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- When the sugar starts melting, lower the heat and simmer about 7-8 minutes more, until the sugar turns into a golden-brownish syrup.
*tip: Never stir the syrup with a spoon; spread it by moving your pan.
Put it together:
- Lay out a non stick sheet of baking parchment.
- Add the fried sweet potato to the syrup in the pan. Gently mix to coat the potato chunks in the syrup.
- Sprinkle some black sesame seeds over top.
- Transfer the potato to the parchment sheet. Leave a gap between each potato piece so that they don’t stick to each other.
- When the coating cools down and become solid, transfer to a serving bowl.