Sauteed Yam 長芋のソテー – ‘Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories’

Jump to Recipe Discussion
  • This crunchy and toasty Sautéed Yam absorbs the flavors from soy sauce being charred in the pan.  Inspired by the Japanese drama, Midnight Diner.

    Sauteed Yam and salad on the white plate.

    Have you tried Sautéed Yam before?  The recipe was featured on the popular Japanese TV program called Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂) or ’Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories‘ now available on Netflix.  The show features Japanese dishes that are more representative of home cooked recipes than Japanese Restaurant menu items in the US.

    Since the drama doesn’t provide detailed ingredients and step by step instructions, I started to share these copycat recipes on my blog.  Today’s recipe – sautéed yam (長芋のソテー) was featured in Season 1, Episode 8.

    What type of yam is used for Sauteed Yam?

    First thing first.  You probably wonder what type of yam is being used in this recipe.  It is not the sweet potato “yam” you might be thinking of.  If you’re not sure what’s the difference with yam and sweet potatoes, this article might be helpful.  So this particular yam used in this recipe is called Nagaimo (長芋) and it looks like this.

    Nagaimo on the table.

    Sounds or looks familiar?  You might have researched this ingredient for Okonomiyaki recipe because grated nagaimo in the Okonomiyaki batter is important for the fluffy texture.  Also, if you have traveled in Japan, you might have tried Tororo Gohan (とろろご飯).  That white gooey and slimy thing on top of rice, that’s also grated nagaimo.

    Sauteed Yam with salad on the white plate.

    Sauteed Yam was Surprisingly Delicious!

    To be honest, I was quite surprised how delicious this simple dish was.  If it wasn’t for Midnight Diner inspiring me to recreate the recipes from the show, I probably wouldn’t have come up with a dish like this using nagaimo.  I used to only buy nagaimo for making Okonomiyaki and had’t made any other nagaimo recipes that my mom used to make for us when growing up.  In short, I’m not a fan of nagaimo by itself.

    So, this dish was a total surprise for me (in a good way).  I want to emphasize that if you look at the ingredient list, you see only 4 ingredients.  Besides nagaimo, you only use olive oil, salt, and soy sauce.  I was delighted and totally awed by the deliciousness of this dish with my not-so-favorite nagaimo.

    I think the key “yum” factors come from 3 parts: 1) a nice crunchiness from nagaimo, 2) burnt/charred soy sauce flavors, and 3) the right amount of saltiness that brings bland nagaimo to the next level.

    I know it’s hard to convince people to enjoy nagaimo, so I pray that my photographs of this simple dish did it justice.  The lighting on this day was perfect so I am really happy with the way the pictures turned out.  I hope that these sauteed yam looks delicious enough for you to give it a try!

    Sauteed Yam and salad on the white plate.

    Can’t Find Nagaimo?

    Lastly, if you can’t get nagaimo where you live, it’s really difficult to substitute ingredients for it.  I cannot recommend using potatoes or other root vegetables as a replacement.  Nagaimo cooks very quickly compared to other thick root vegetables and and has a unique texture unlike anything else. 🙁

    Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookGoogle+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

    4.83 from 17 votes
    Sautéed Yam (長芋のソテー) from Midnight Diner | Easy Japanese Recipes at
    Sauteed Yam
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Total Time
    15 mins
    This crunchy and toasty Sautéed Yam absorbs the flavors from soy sauce being charred in the pan.  Inspired by the Japanese drama, Midnight Diner.
    Course: Main Course, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: chinese yam, cinnamon-vine, nagaimo
    Servings: 2
    • inch Nagaimo (2½” = 6.5 cm)
    • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Pinch of kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
    • 2 tsp soy sauce
    • Mizuna (to serve, optional)
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      Sauteed Yam Ingredients
    2. Peel and slice nagaimo into 1/2 inch or 1.3 cm thickness. Some of you may feel itchy by touching nagaimo. If you're not sure, wear kitchen gloves to protect your skin. Once you peel, nagaimo gets very slimy, so be careful.

      Sauteed Yam 1
    3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt.
      Sauteed Yam 2
    4. Put the Nagaimo slices and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. When it has nice char on the bottom, flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
      Sauteed Yam 3
    5. Add the soy sauce. Quickly lift up the frying pan and swirl the nagaimo in the frying pan so that nagaimo will be evenly coated with soy sauce. Moving around nagaimo prevents from getting burnt. It might splatter a little bit, so be careful. This creates delicious flavors.
      Sauteed Yam 4
    6. When the sauce gets thicken and nagaimo has nice char like this, turn off the heat and serve.  Just like in the Midnight Diner episode, I serve this dish with Mizuna.

      Sauteed Yam 5
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Make It Into A Meal

  • Just One Cookbook Essential Japanese Recipes

    Love Our Recipes?