Potato Oyaki and Sweet Potato and Carrot Oyaki

Last year I posted a recipe for Potato Oyaki, little mashed potato pancakes or dumplings filled with salty-sweet meat soboro and pan-fried until crispy on both sides. It's been one of the most popular recipes posted on this site, despite the fact that I managed to bury it within a whole bento description, so that if you were searching for individual recipes in the recipe index, you couldn't find it!

To correct this oversight, I have repeated the recipe for the Potato Oyaki here. To accompany it is a new variation recipe that uses sweet potatoes and finely chopped cooked carrot. This has a small amount of ham and cheese in the middle; you could do so with the same meat soboro used for the Potato Oyaki, or any precooked chopped meat. It's also good without any stuffing. If you happen to have any leftover boiled or baked sweet potato and carrot from Thanksgiving dinner, this is an interesting way to transform it for bentos.

Now, why is the Sweet Potato Oyaki shaped like a pig? That mystery will be revealed later.

First up is the Potato Oyaki recipe, with some modifications from the originally posted recipe.

Recipe: Potato Oyaki With Meat Soboro


Makes 8 oyaki, each approximately 2.5 inches / 6 cm in diameter.

  • 2 cups (approx. 440ml) precooked plain mashed potatoes (no milk, butter etc. added)
  • 4 Tbs. cornstarch or potato starch (katakuriko)
  • Salt to taste (Omit if the potatoes were boiled in salted water)
  • 8 heaping tsp. meat soboro or other savory filling
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce

Make the potato dough the night before or earlier. Use hot mashed potatoes; if you are using leftover mashed potatoes, heat them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on high until hot. Add the cornstarch and salt, and mix well until the dough has cooled.

In the morning, take out the cooled mass and knead it a bit, and divide into 8 pieces. Round and flatten each piece on your palm. Put 1 heaping teaspoonful of soboro in the middle. Gather the dough over the filling, then make a smooth round flat cake. (The dough is very easy to manipulate so this doesn't take much time).

Heat up a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.Drizzle a little bit of sesame oil in the pan, then put in the formed oyaki (do this in 2 batches if your pan is small). Cook until browned underneath, 5-6 minutes, then turn and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Brush the cooked side with a little soy sauce using a brush or drizzle on a bit with a spoon. Turn once more and brush the other side with soy sauce.

Remove from the frying pan to a plate, and let cool before packing into bento box.

Formed oyaki can be frozen. Place in a single layer on a sheet of freezer paper on a metal tray. When frozen solid, put the oyaki into freezer bags or a freezer safe container. Use up within a month if possible. The best way to defrost them is in a non-stick frying pan over low heat, which will crisp them up on the outside nicely. You can also microwave them on the high setting, 3-4 minutes for 1 oyaki, 8-10 minutes for 4.

Next up is the sweet potato variation.

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Carrot Oyaki


Makes 8 2.5 inch / 6 cm diameter oyaki as above, or 20-24 small pig shaped oyaki

  • 1 1/2 cups (approx. 330ml) precooked and mashed sweet potatoes potatoes (no milk, butter etc. added) - a large sweet potato will yield this amount
  • 4 Tbs. cornstarch or potato starch (katakuriko)
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cooked carrot
  • 4 Tbs. finely chopped cooked ham
  • 4 Tbs. shredded hard cheese, such as Cheddar or Gruyere
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil

Make the potato dough the night before or earlier: Sweet potato is more watery than white potato, so after it mashed, put it in a dry pan over low heat, and stir until it's dried out and rather floury. Add the cornstarch or potato starch, salt, sugar and carrots. Mix well. Let cool, and store in the refrigerator.

Mix the cooked ham and cheese together well with your hands to form a sort of ham-cheese paste.

Take out the cold dough and knead for a couple of minutes. Divide into 8 pieces for regular sized oyaki, or 20-24 pieces for little oyaki. Fill each piece of dough with the ham-cheese paste, and form into rounds or pigs or whatever strikes your fancy.

Heat up a non-stick frying pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Put the oyaki in the pan, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Cook on the first side for 4-5 minutes, turn and brush with a little soy sauce. Cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. Turn again and brush with a little more soy sauce.

Remove from the frying pan to a plate, and let cool before packing into bento box.

These can also be frozen - follow the instructions for Potato Oyaki.

Oyaki filling alternatives

  • The miso, tahini and nut paste, with the amount of chopped nuts doubled, is a very nice filling. Use one level teaspoonful (not a heaping teaspoonful) per oyaki.
  • Finely chopped Japanese pickles such as shibazuke or narazuke
  • Well squeezed out and finely chopped kimchi
  • Cooked and well seasoned vegetables
  • Grated or shredded cheese
  • Leftover gyoza dumpling filling (cook the oyaki a few minutes longer to allow the filling to cook through)
  • Chopped up braised pork belly
  • Crumbled leftover meatloaf (brush the surface with ketchup or steak sauce instead of soy sauce and sesame oil)
  • And..why not? Leftover chopped up turkey, or stuffing.
Last modified: 
11 Jun 2019 - 06:20

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