How to Make Japanese Purple Stir Fry

On February 26, 2017

My husband’s grandparents come from Okinawa, a place that is well known across the globe for having one of the longest life expectancies in the world – a fact that is mainly attributed to their healthy diet.

One of the key elements of this life-extending diet is a vegetable that is on trend this year (yes vegetables can be trendy): purple sweet potato.

The Okinawan purple sweet potato is chock-full of health benefits. They contain high levels of antioxidants, aid digestion and are filled with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. In comparison to the regular ol’ white potato, sweet potatoes are effective in regulating blood sugar levels so you don’t experience that sudden spike then crash.

Plus purple vegetables are a big thing this year and people are eager to find creative ways to purple-fy their diet! If you can’t find purple sweet potato in your local store then replace with whatever type of sweet potato you can get and a mix of purple vegetables.

Japanese Purple Stir Fry

Serves 2


  • Vegetable oil, for frying (植物油 shokubutsuabura)
  • Half red chilli, roughly chopped (remove seeds if you don’t want it too hot) (唐辛子 togourashi)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (ニンニク niniku)
  • Handful of spinach, roughly chopped (ほうれん草 hourensou)
  • Handful of purple cabbage, finely sliced (紫キャベツ murasaki kyabetsu)
  • Handful of fresh beetroot, peeled and cut julienne (ビートルート bitoruto/ビートの根)
  • Half sweet potato, peeled and cut julienne (さつま芋 satsumaimo)
  • 200g tofu, preferably organic, cut into small cubes (豆腐 toufu)

For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce, to season (しょうゆ shouyu)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil, to season (胡麻油 gomaabura)
  • 1 tsp honey, to season (optional) (はちみつ hachimitsu)
  • Freshly steamed rice, to serve
  • Roasted sesame seeds, to garnish (ごま塩 gomashio)


1. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok over a medium to high heat.
2. Toss in the garlic and chilli and fry for a minute.
3. Add the mixed purple vegetables and fry for a few minutes. Then add the spinach and tofu. Mix well and fry for a few more minutes (try not to overcook the vegetables so they keep their crunchy texture).
4. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and add into the stir-fry and mix well, continuing to fry for a few minutes.
5. Serve on two plates with freshly steamed rice.
6. Garnish with roasted sesame seeds.


Japanese food writer and author of “Japanese Food Made Easy”.

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