Koimo Sweet Potato

Koimo is a Korean sweet potato. I always see an abundance of these during the fall and winter months at my favorite Asian Store. They are smaller in size compared to the yams and sweet potatoes sold here in North America. I believe that roasted sweet potato is favorite snack or street food in Japan and Korea. In the Philippines, camote which is sweet potato in Tagalog is also a popular snack often boiled or deep fried with a coating of brown sugar.

During my weekly trip to the grocery store, I finally bought some to try at home with the intention of roasting it. I just wanted to see for myself how it taste like compared to their North American counterpart.

I scrubbed the sweet potatoes under running water and pat them dry with paper towels. I then placed it in a baking sheet and baked it in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes. You can test for doneness when a toothpick inserted offers no resistance or it has a slight give when pinched.

When done they were the sweetest I have ever tasted and is like having caramelized sweet potatoes. This will be a family favorite for sure.




Nori Fries

The first time I had “Nori Fries” was in Manila when I went home for a visit late last year. We ate at Jipan a Japanese cafe/bakery and it was served with the sandwich I ordered. From the moment I tasted I knew I have to recreate it at home.

My family loves nori and we always have some in our pantry. For this recipe I used “Aji Nori Furikake”. Furikake is a kind of Japanese condiment usually sprinkled on top of rice. It is made up of chopped seaweed, sesame seed, dried fish, sugar and salt.


There are different varieties or flavors you can get in the market these days. I was introduced to furikake in high school when I became an exchange student to Japan. My host family have this at their dining table and my foster sister and brother would always put some on their rice. Furikake is also a staple in our pantry as I would sometimes use this for my girls bento and in my onigiri.

To make, get a bag of frozen french fries and cook according to package directions. I baked mine since I don’t like deep frying. Baking the fries only took 12-15 minutes.


Then while the fries are still hot sprinkle some salt and furikake and toss everything to coat. You can serve it with a combination of mayo and ketchup dipping sauce.




Banana Q (Caramelized Banana)

Banana Q or Banana Cue is a very popular snack sold at almost every street corner back home. It is deep fried “saba” banana coated with caramelized brown sugar. Saba banana is a type of cooking banana that is cultivated and indigenous to the Philippines. You can get frozen saba banana in any Asian store. I have used this brand and find it’s quality really excellent.



As a child I really didn’t like this traditional snack and would prefer to have cookies and crackers instead. I guess as you grow older your taste in food changes and you long for those that reminds you of home.

To make, heat about 3/4-1 cup oil in a pan and add 1/2 cup brown sugar. Immediately add your saba bananas. Do not crowd your pan and continuously move and stir the bananas around until browned and sugar has caramelized and evenly coated it. It took me a while to get the hang of it since the brown sugar burns quickly.

Serve hot or warm. You can even serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.



Vegetable Spring Roll (Lumpiang Gulay)

Vegetable Spring Roll (lumping gulay) is an all time favorite of our family. In our hometown of Navotas, it is called Sumpia and usually paired with arroz caldo (rice and chicken porridge).

I usually make mine with what is available in my vegetable bin. Saute garlic and onion. Add in shrimps or any meat of your choice, you may even use fried tofu. Then add sliced carrots, celery, green beans, mung bean sprouts and cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. Let the vegetable mixture cool then wrap in Spring roll wrapper and deep fry until golden brown. Serve with a dipping sauce of white vinegar, soy sauce and a dash of ground pepper.

Sauteed Vegetable Mixture

Stack of just wrapped lumpia

Deep frying the lumpia