These simple, doughy pancakes are composed of mostly sweet potato and sweet rice flour. The dough is intensely wet and a bit finicky to handle, but they fry up beautifully into chewy nuggets housing a black sesame sugar mixture that explodes in a sea of molten sweetness when you bite in. The black sesame sugar was adapted from Lady and Pups, the pancakes from Top Chinese Cuisine. —Erika
4-6 as a snack
Black sesame sugar
black sesame seeds
Sweet potato pancake dough
cooked, mashed sweet potato (baking the potato yields the sweetest flavor, but you can also microwave or steam it)
sweet rice or glutinous rice flour
white or black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Rinse your sesame seeds in a very fine mesh strainer and then toast in a skillet over medium heat until they begin to pop. Let cool completely before adding to a food processor along with the sugars. Process until fully combined and the seeds have reached the consistency of a rough sugar (do not overprocess to a paste).
Stir the sweet potato together with the sweet rice flour and sugar until fully combined. Add more rice flour, a tablespoon at a time if the dough seems unmanageable sticky, but the dough is meant to be quite wet--the less rice flour you add, the more tender the pancakes will be. You can add additional sweetener to compensate for any added starch to taste.
Start preheating a lightly greased pan over medium heat. Scoop out slightly mounded tablespoons of dough at a time and flatten in your palm. Fill with ½ teaspoon of black sesame sugar and gently fold the edges of the pancake over the mound of sesame sugar. This can be a finicky process; I’ve found wetting my hands with a little water helps keep the dough from sticking quite as much. Press a few sesame seeds on top if you like (this is purely for aesthetic purposes).
Nudge the tablespoon of dough directly from your palm into the pan. These are so delicate that I found I had to cook them as I made them; there can be no transferring of the pancakes from your palm to anywhere else (say, a plate, and then from the plate to the pan) lest you tear them.
Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden. Eat warm!