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Author Notes: 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
Serves 4-6 as a snack
Black sesame sugar
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Sweet potato pancake dough
- 3/4 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (baking the potato yields the sweetest flavor, but you can also microwave or steam it)
- 10 tablespoons sweet rice or glutinous rice flour
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 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!