Kuri Kinton is sweet chestnuts mixed in mashed sweet potatoes. It is a part of Osechi Ryori, the traditional Japanese new year feast. There are a lot of kinds of dishes for Osechi Ryori, and Kuri Kinton is one of the most popular dishes for kids as it is sweet like a dessert.
Each part of Osechi Ryori has a meaning to it, and Kuri Kinton is no exception. Kin sounds like gold or money in Japanese, and, along with the yellow/gold color, the dish represents prosperous business or being lucky with money.
Kuri Kinton is very sweet like some other Osechi Ryori so that it can last for at least the first 3 days of the new year. Kuri (chestnuts) used in the dish are called Kanroni, and they are cooked and macerated in heavy syrup. Chestnut Kanroni is usually sold in a small jar at Japanese markets. Don’t discard the syrup as you will use it to sweeten the potatoes. The sweet potatoes used here are Japanese sweet potatoes that have purple skin and white flesh (uncooked). When the potatoes are cooked, the inside turns yellow．To enhance the yellow color even more, you could add dried gardenia fruit when boiling the potatoes since the gardenia fruit works as a natural food coloring.
We’re not sure we can all be rich eating Kuri Kinton (you see that not all Japanese people are rich :), but we can at least enjoy this sweet dish for a new year.
- 300g Japanese sweet potato
- 5-6 pieces Kuri Kanroni (chestnuts in syrup)
- 150g sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp syrup from Kuri Kanroni
- 1 Tbsp Mirin
- Cut sweet potato into 1/2" (1cm) rounds and peel. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Cut chestnut into halves.
- Boil potatoes until soft. Sieve through strainer while hot.
- Put the potatoes back into the pot, and add sugar and syrup. Stir constantly and cook at low heat to make a paste.
- While it is still loose, add Mirin and chestnuts. Mix well and remove from heat.