Shichimi togarashi sweet potato fries with miso ketchup
I don’t know about you, but all of this virtuous January business has given me a serious snack attack. That said, I don’t want to throw it all away on a Ho-Ho’s/Slim Jim’s bender. I’m talking about a delicious snack that’s healthy enough that I can keep my imaginary halo, but that isn’t sad or boring. That’s where shichimi togarashi comes in. Shichimi togarashi is a super flavorful Japanese spice blend that typically contains seven ingredients, and lucky for me, I was gifted an especially lovely version from March Pantry. March’s blend contains sesame seeds, mustard seed, orange peel, sichuan pepper, lemon myrtle and dry chili (if you don’t live near March, you should be able to pick some up at an asian supermarket or specialty grocer). Ok, so back to this snack attack; to me the ideal snack is a balance of salty, sweet, spicy and crunchy. The shichimi togarashi certainly brings the spice, and I decided that sweet potatoes hit the mark as the perfect main ingredient. They can stand up to the shichimi’s bold magic, and when baked they make great fries, so they hit the other quadrants of my ideal snack criteria… without being a pork rind.
These fries were begging for ketchup, but the super sugary version that reigns supreme at the grocery store just wouldn’t do. Because sweet potatoes are, well, sweet, I wanted a savory ketchup with lots of umami flavor. Turns out it was pretty easy and quick to whip up the ketchup of my snack filled dreams by starting with organic, (gasp) canned tomato puree. Then I just added flavors that I thought would go well with my Japanese-spiced fries, like white miso, rice vinegar, mirin and a touch of sesame oil. A little bit of agave nectar provided a good balance without having to resort to refined sugar (which would of course mean having my sainthood revoked).
Shichimi togarashi sweet potato fries recipe
2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2″ x 2.5″ sticks
1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon shichimi togarashi
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 450. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potato sticks with oil, shichimi togarashi and salt. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the fries and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until browned and crispy.
Miso ketchup recipe
This recipe makes a lot of ketchup, so feel free to cut it back, or even can the extras.
1 28oz can organic tomato puree
1/2 cup organic white miso
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon organic garlic powder
In a saucepan, stir all ingredients to combine well. Cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes, until it has thickened, stirring occasionally. It will splatter, so be prepared with a splatter guard and be careful when stirring. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before serving.