Korean
Candied Korean sweet potato with crunchy shell on parchment paper.

Goguma mattang is a Korean candied sweet potato coated in a hard caramelized candy sugar. With a crunchy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior, this Korean delight is a perfect sweet snack for the fall and winter seasons.

Korean candied sweet potato with crispy shell on baking paper.Korean candied sweet potato with crispy shell on baking paper.

Korean candied sweet potato, known as goguma mattang (고구마 마탕), is a delicious treat that has been popular for generations. It was one of my favorite street foods as a child and I still find it today in grocery stores and local markets.

Although distinct from American-style candied sweet potatoes, Korean sweet potato pieces are fried until golden brown. They are then coated in shiny, caramelized sugar, creating a hard candy-like shell that adds a delicious crunch.

Crispy candy-like shell on Korean sweet potato called goguma mattang.Crispy candy-like shell on Korean sweet potato called goguma mattang.

“Mattang (맛탕)” refers to the cooking technique that involves glazing fried ingredients, such as sweet potatoes (goguma), in caramelized syrup. This creates the crunchy, caramelized coating that makes this Korean dessert so irresistible.

It is reminiscent of Japanese Daigaku Imo, but the Korean version stands out for its crunchier, almost brittle shell.

What are Korean Sweet Potatoes?

Korean sweet potatoes showing purple skin.Korean sweet potatoes showing purple skin.

Korean sweet potatoes, known as goguma, are noticeably different from Western or American sweet potato varieties. They typically have purple skin and yellow or white flesh, which distinguishes them from more common orange-fleshed varieties such as yam.

Their flavor is particularly sweet, similar to chestnuts, and they have a firmer consistency. In Korean cuisine, these different sweet potatoes are versatile, used in various dishes such as steamed, roasted, or as part of sweet snacks. They are also rich in vitamins and fiber.

Korean and Japanese sweet potatoes are quite similar in both appearance and taste, making them often interchangeable. You can easily find them in Korean grocery stores and Asian markets.

For another delicious experience, try my Roasted Korean Sweet Potatoes recipe.

Ingredients to prepare Goguma Mattang

Ingredients to prepare the goguma mattang recipe.Ingredients to prepare the goguma mattang recipe.

Korean or Japanese Sweet Potatoes (Goguma): Select those with deep purple skin. Choose uniformly sized potatoes to ensure they cook evenly.

Vegetable oil: Necessary for frying. Use any unscented oil with a high smoke point.

Sugar: Use white granulated sugar, which is ideal for creating the hard caramel coating.

Black Sesame Seeds: These are optional for the garnish. They add a nice contrast to the gold trim.

Tips for Success Candying Sweet Potatoes

  1. When washing sweet potatoes to remove dirt, make sure they are completely dry before frying. This prevents oil splashes.
    • Skin peeling is a matter of personal preference.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes into evenly sized wedges at an angle, creating different shapes for crispier edges.
    • To get angled cuts, rotate the sweet potato as you slice it.
  3. For the caramel topping, sprinkle the sugar into the oil and wait until it begins to melt and form golden bubbles in the center before stirring. Gently swirl the pan to allow the caramel to turn a golden brown color.
  4. Adding a little corn syrup towards the end of caramelizing the sugar can slow the hardening process, but it still creates a hard, crunchy shell.
  5. After frying, place the sweet potato pieces on baking paper and quickly sprinkle them with black sesame seeds before the candy coating hardens.

How to Make Korean Candied Sweet Potato

Korean sweet potatoes cut at an angle.Korean sweet potatoes cut at an angle.

Prepare the Sweet Potatoes

  • Dry the sweet potatoes with absorbent paper and cut them into oblique and uniformly sized wedges.
  • Prepare a large baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat.

Deep frying

  • Heat about 1 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat for frying. The ideal temperature is 175°C (350°F), which you can check with a candy thermometer.
  • Fry the sweet potato wedges until golden brown, making sure to turn them for even cooking. Avoid overcrowding the pan and fry in batches if necessary.
  • After frying, remove excess oil and transfer the segments to a wire rack or baking tray covered with absorbent paper. Reserve 1 tablespoon oil and discard remaining oil.

Making caramel Sauce

  • In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil used for frying. Sprinkle the sugar and let it dissolve without stirring.
  • Once golden bubbles appear, gently swirl the pan to caramelize the sugar evenly.
  • Once most of the sugar has caramelized, add the corn syrup and let it boil for a moment.
  • Carefully stir the caramel sauce to prevent it from burning.

Note: Be careful with the caramel to prevent it from burning, as burnt caramel can taste bitter.

Coating and Gasket

  • Immediately add the fried sweet potatoes and a pinch of salt to the caramel sauce. Toss to coat each piece evenly.
  • Place the candied sweet potatoes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure they do not touch each other. If using, sprinkle black sesame seeds for garnish before the caramel hardens.
  • Let them cool completely before serving.
Goguma mattang served with toothpicks on a plate.Goguma mattang served with toothpicks on a plate.

Storage tip

Goguma mattang is more enjoyable when eaten fresh. If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Keep in mind that the hard shell of the candy will soften over time, turning into a sweet syrup, so it will not retain its original crunch. It will still be delicious!

Related recipes

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Korean candied sweet potato with crispy shell on baking paper.Korean candied sweet potato with crispy shell on baking paper.

Crispy Korean Candied Sweet Potatoes (Goguma Mattang)

Goguma mattang is a Korean candied sweet potato coated in a hard caramelized candy sugar. It has a crunchy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior, making it an ideal sweet snack for fall and winter.

  • 1 lbs (450 g) Korean sweet potatoes
  • oil, for frying

For the caramel sauce

  • 1 table spoon oil
  • 4 table spoon white sugar
  • 1 1/2 table spoon corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, for garnish, optional
  • Dry the sweet potatoes with absorbent paper and cut them into oblique and uniformly sized wedges. Prepare a large baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat.

  • Pour about 1 inch of oil into a skillet and heat over medium heat for frying. Aim for 350˚F (175˚C), using a candy thermometer for maximum accuracy. Fry the sweet potato wedges until golden brown, turning for even cooking. Do not overcrowd the pan and fry in batches if necessary. After frying, remove excess oil and place the bread slices on a wire rack or pan covered with absorbent paper.

  • To make the caramel sauce, place 1 tablespoon used frying oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Sprinkle the sugar and let it dissolve without stirring. When the golden bubble appears, reduce the heat to low and gently swirl the pan to caramelize the sugar evenly. Mix carefully to prevent the syrup from turning dark brown quickly. Add the corn syrup to the caramelized sugar, letting it boil briefly while you stir.(Note: Watch the caramel carefully to prevent it from burning, as it can turn bitter quickly.)
  • Add the fried sweet potatoes and a pinch of salt to the caramel. Toss to coat each piece evenly.

  • Arrange the candied fruit on the already prepared baking tray, lined with baking paper, keeping them separate. If desired, quickly garnish with black sesame seeds before the caramel sets. Let them cool completely before serving.

  • Goguma Mattang tastes best when fresh. For any leftovers, place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. The hard candy shell may soften and become more like a sweet syrup, losing its crunch, but it will remain tasty
  • Remember to handle the caramel coating carefully as it becomes very hot.

Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 44G, Protein: 2G, Fat: 4G, Saturated fats: 0.4G, Polyunsaturated fats: 1G, Monounsaturated fat: 2G, Trans fats: 0.01G, Sodium: 58mg, Potassium: 544mg, Fiber: 4G, Sugar: 28G, Vitamin A: 21793UI, C vitamin: 22mg, Soccer: 54mg, Iron: 1mg

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