For the final post on the Osechi Ryori (Japanese New Year Meal) series, I am sharing another popuar dish called Kuri Kinton (Candied Chestnuts with Sweet Potatoes).
Kurikinton (栗金団) literary means “chestnut gold mash”, which symbolizes economic fortune and wealth and it’s important part of the New Year meal to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.
If you make this dish, please use Japanese Sweet Potatoes called Satsumaimo (さつまいも). Japanese sweet potatoes have bright yellow color and they are sweeter than regular sweet potatoes.
Traditionally we put dried gardenia pods (kuchinashi no mi, くちなしの実) while simmering the sweet potatoes. The gardenia pods give a bright yellow color and they are used to naturally color other food such as “takuan” radish pickles and noodles. Unfortunately I could not find these pods in the US so I couldn’t add them while cooking. The yellow color in the photos is purely from the Japanese sweet potatoes.
If you have never had this dish, you might be surprised how sweet it is considering that it is not a dessert dish. You can adjust sweetness to your liking before you add suggested amount.
Last but not least, I just want to say a big Thank You for reading my little blog! When the New Year Day comes, Just One Cookbook will turn 2 years old! It’s been such a wonderful journey and without you I definitely won’t be having as much fun blogging. Your kind comments and feedback, and personal letters make my day very meaningful and happy. I am looking forward to sharing more delicious recipes based on your requests (via this post) next year.
I’ll be taking a little break from blogging to spend some quality time with my family, but don’t worry, I’ll be back in the second week of January.
I wish all of you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!!
- 1.1 lb (500g) Japanese sweet potatoes (satsumaimo)
- 1 jar of Kuri Kanroni (Chestnuts in Heavy Syrup) or Marrons Glacés
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. syrup from Kuri Kanroni
- 1 Tbsp. mirin
- 2 dried dried gardenia pods (kuchinashi no mi)* (optional)
- Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.
- Slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces (so that it will be cooked equally)and soak in water for 1 hour.
- Rinse the sweet potatoes.
- Put the sweet potatoes in a pot and pour water just enough to cover them.
- Bring the water to a boil on high heat and once boiling, lower the heat to medium.
- Cook the sweet potatoes about 15-20 minutes, or until the skewer goes through smoothly.
- Reserve about 1/2 cup of the water and drain completely.
- Mash the boiled sweet potatoes through the strainer/sieve with a spatula to remove fiber and lumps. If necessary you can add a little bit of cooking liquid here.
- Put the mashed sweet potatoes back into the pot. Add sugar, salt, and syrup and mix well.
- Put the pot back on the stove and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the cooking liquid as needed (I didn't need to add but it depends on how much syrup you added in previous step). Add mirin if you want to add more sweetness (I added about 1 Tbsp.).
- Add the chestnuts and cook for 3-5 minutes or until heated through.
- Remove Kuri Kinton into an airtight container and let it cool. Serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator and consume in 3-4 days.
* Dried gardenia pods (kuchinashi no mi) give a sunshine yellow color when simmering sweet potatoes. They are used to naturally color “takuan” radish pickles, noodles, and other foods. If you can find them, crack in half and wrap in a cheese cloth to cook with sweet potatoes.