This page may contain affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission for products purchased through my link.
Candied Korean Sweet Potato or Goguma Mattang (고구마 맛탕) is a Korean sweet potato dish enjoyed as a snack or dessert. As a child, I remember going out to eat jjajjangmyeon with my family and looking forward to the candied sweet potato at the end of the meal!
It’s deep fried korean yam or sweet potato, coated in a crunchy caramel layer with black sesame seeds on top. To eat, you dip your goguma mattang into a bowl of ice water to make the potato extra crunchy and enjoy family style with toothpicks! This version of goguma mattang is lightened up, a little easier to make at home and really simple too.
How to Cook Korean Sweet Potato
To make this Korean sweet potato recipe you’ll need only 4 ingredients, and you probably have most of them at home already! You simply dice your potato, bake and then create a stovetop caramel. Coat your potato, let chill and then enjoy. You will need:
- Korean yam or sweet potato, also known as Japanese sweet potato.
- Granulated sugar of choice. I recommend organic cane sugar, as it’s easier to tell when your sugar is caramelizing, but you can also experiment with coconut sugar for a refined sugar free alternative.
- Neutral oil for baking potato and creating your caramel.
- Black sesame seeds to garnish
Salt is always a nice addition to any dessert for balance!
Baked vs. Fried Korean Sweet Potato
To make this goguma mattang, we will be using baked Korean sweet potato instead of deep frying. I personally find this method better for texture and it is much simpler to make at home! Deep frying can be a little intimidating at home, and if you prefer a fluffy texture, I promise you’ll love it.
You can also experiment with air frying your sweet potato cubes, and of course if you’re comfortable deep frying at home, do it!
Japanese vs. Korean Candied Sweet Potato
There is a Japanese candied sweet potato dish (called daigaku imo) which is similar but slightly different. The Japanese version is usually made with honey and some soy sauce for a sweet and savoury flavour profile. The coating is also more syrup-like compared to the Korean sweet potato dish, whereas the Korean sweet potato is a true candy-like coating.
How to Serve
This dish is usually served alongside a bowl of ice cubes and water. It helps to firm up the caramel coating and gives you the best crunch! Sometimes the coating may start to soften if the dish is sitting out, so simply grab a piece of sweet potato, dunk it into the ice water for a few seconds and then eat.
More Korean Recipes to Try
- Quinoa Bibimbap (vegan, gluten free, oil free)
Korean Candied Sweet Potato (Goguma Mattang)
- 1 large Korean/Japanese sweet potato
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- black sesame seeds
- flaky salt
- ice cubes + water for serving
- Preheat oven to 400F while you prepare your potatoes.
- Keeping the skin on, dice your potato and toss with 1 tbsp of neutral oil in a bowl until nicely coated. Add a sprinkle of salt if desired. Transfer potatoes onto a lined baking mat and bake for 20-25 minutes. Pierce with a fork to check it is cooked through. Edges should be lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- In a saucepan over low heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and sugar to the pan. Let the sugar melt (don't touch it) and as it starts to brown, begin to shake and swirl the pan until lightly golden. Turn the heat off.
- Add baked korean sweet potato chunks into the pan and toss to coat completely. Transfer to a linked baking sheet, draining off any excess oil and separating chunks while warm. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and flaky salt before cooling.
- To enjoy, dip into a bowl of water and ice to firm up and crunch away!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.