My mama used to make this quite often, one of my favourite Taiwanese street food snacks made from the humble sweet potato (a staple in Taiwan) along with tapioca flour as a binding agent and brown sugar for sweetness. When you steam sweet potato instead of boiling there’s less liquid to evaporate while it cools and it makes it easier to shape. A less watery sweet potato mash also means you’ll use less tapioca flour which helps retain the sweet potato flavour. I used leftover tapioca flour from my Faithful to Nature “Faithful Food Challenge“.
Frying these sweet potato puffs does take some time as it’s a slow fry, and once they start puffing – the trick is to flatten them against the pot’s wall with a slotted spoon while they puff. The idea is to flatten, allow puffing, and repeat until this three-ingredient fried snack is golden brown. Pop them onto some paper towels to drain excess oil and enjoy these gluten-free and vegan fried snacks while warm – I say warm and not hot because I always burn my tongue on the tester. This recipe isn’t strict, but a foundation to work off*.
My friend Chi helped me film it – check out a 24” time-lapse clip on the frying process here.
Taiwanese street food – Sweet Potato Puffs
1 serving for 4 people | 30 minutes, excluding steaming and mashing.
- 750g cooled mashed sweet potato (steamed)
- 1 C of Tapioca flour (always have extra lying around to adjust the ‘dough’)
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- Mix brown sugar into the sweet potato.
- Add tapioca flour into the sweet potato and mix with a spatula.
- * If your sweet potato mix is on the moist side, you’ll need more tapioca flour to help the balls hold their shape.
- * Taste it and sweeten further if it’s not sweet enough for you.
- Shape rough little balls out – they’ll form a perfect roundness while they fry and place them in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Heat cooking oil in a frying pot at a medium to low heat.
- Pop one puff in as a tester and if a slow continuous bubbling occurs, you can start placing more balls in but remember to space them out or they stick together (one at a time so your oil doesn’t cool down).
- Once a golden colour forms, it’ll start rising to the top of the oil and increasing in size.
- Flatten the puffs against the pot’s walls with a slotted frying spoon, allow them to repuff and flatten again. Continue doing this until they become large and golden brown.
- Drain the excess oil with paper towels and serve warm 🙂