Happy Donabe Life

Japanese Sweet Potato Rice

Satsuma-Imo Gohan

This is one of my favorite fall-to-winter rice dishes since I was a child. This is such a simple dish, as the main ingredients are just the rice and satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato), and they are seasoned very lightly only with salt. The natural sweetness of the satsuma-imo is fully brought out after cooked with the rice, and the texture is nicely soft to work great with the shiny chewy rice. I also love making onigiri (rice balls) with this dish. They taste great hot or room temperature. If you want to add more flavor, you can cook the rice with dashi or even consommé works nicely, too.

Vegan option

This is a vegan dish.


Kamado-san (3 rice-cup size)


4 - 5


  • 1 small (about 8 oz/ 240 g) satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato)
  • 2 rice-cups (360 ml) short grain rice, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water or your choice of dashi
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


(Goma-shio/ roasted sesame salt topping)

  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt


  1. Cut the satsuma-imo into 3/4″ (2 cm) cubes. Soak in cold water until ready to use.
  2. Combine the rice and water in Kamado-san. Add the sake and sea salt. Let the rice soak for 20 – 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the satsuma-imo and arrange on the rice in a single layer.
  4. Cover Kamado-san with both lids and set over medium-high heat. Cook for 13 – 15 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, and let it rest, undisturbed, for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the goma-shio. Add the sesame seeds in a small pan and sauté until fragrant (about 2 minutes) over low heat. Add the salt and continue to sauté for 1 minute or so. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. Once the rice is ready, open both lids and fluff gently with a rice paddle. Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle some goma-shio on top to enjoy.

Ready to cook.

Once it’s cooked, sprinkle some salted sesame seeds and enjoy.



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