Sata-andagi (Deep-fried buns from Okinawa)

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Broadcast date:September 26, 2014

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Ingredients (Serves 4 )

(For 8 buns)
・100 g flour (use weak flour or cake flour)
・1 teaspoon baking powder
・1 egg (weighing about 50 g)
・50 g dark brown sugar (use the same amount of white sugar if unavailable)
・Pinch of salt
・1 teaspoon vegetable oil
・Vegetable oil for deep-frying
*Be sure to measure out the ingredients correctly.


  1. Place the flour in a bowl, and stir in 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Use a metal sieve to sift the flour, using a spoon or other implement to break up any lumps.
  2. Crack the egg into another bowl and remove the whitish thread, then beat well. If the dark brown sugar is in lump form, use a knife to break it up, starting from the edges, insuring you have a fine powder. Add the sugar to the beaten egg. Use a rubber spatula to break up any remaining lumps. Add a pinch of salt, and then 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Stir well.
  3. Add the flour. Stir well with a rubber spatula, using a cutting motion, until the mixture is no longer floury and has become a solid mass. Dust your hands in flour and then form the mass into a ball of dough. If the dough is too sticky, add about 1 tablespoon of flour to get it to the right consistency.
  4. Add vegetable oil to a pan so that it comes 3 centimetres up the sides. Heat to a temperature of 140ºC. Test by adding a small 5 mm piece of dough to the oil. If it wells to the surface slowly, the oil is at the right temperature. Dust your hands with flour and then shape the dough into balls about 3 cm in diameter, adding each ball to the hot oil. A pan about 18 cm in diameter will accommodate all 8 buns. Use a pair of chopsticks or tongs to turn the balls of dough in the oil and prevent them from sinking and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Keep the oil at a constant heat, frying the buns for 7 to 8 minutes. Just before you remove them, increase the temperature of the oil to about 160ºC. This will make the oil drain off easier.

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Sata-andagi and Okinawa

Sata-andagi is a traditional Okinawan sweet, and a popular gift item.  It is also made nowadays outside Okinawa.  It has also become a popular sweet in Hawaii, where it is referred to as ‘andagi’.

In the Okinawan dialect, sata means ‘sugar’, anda means ‘oil’, while agi means ‘to deep-fry’.   Elsewhere, the buns are sometimes referred to as ‘Okinawan doughnuts’.

Sata-andagi has lucky associations on account of the cracks that form on the hard surface that is produced from the long frying at low temperatures.  The cracks are said to resemble smiles or make the buns appear as flowers in bloom.  The buns are often prepared for weddings and other celebrations in Okinawa.

Okinawa has a number of different sweets.  Sweet made with dark brown sugar such as Sata-andagi are standard fare.  Okinawa has developed its own distinctive style of sweets.  They are made to last on account of the sub-tropical climate.

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