Tuesday, March 4, 2014
A sweet paste of candied chestnut and Japanese sweet potato, kurikinton has a unique, delicate flavour that is enjoyed by adults and also makes a yummy treat for my kids.
As a part of New Year celebrations, its golden colour makes it a symbol of wealth and prosperity in the coming year.
If you can't get Japanese sweet candied chestnut, just make it with sweet potato. It is still delicious and will look good in your New Year juubako box.
It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.
400~500g Japanese sweet potato (deep purple skin, yellow flesh) Called "satsumaimo" in Japanese
1 Jar of Japanese sweet candied chestnut.
a pinch of salt
1-2 Tbsp mirin
up to 1/2 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of sweet potato
1. Cook and peel the sweet potato: Peel the skin, chop roughly and place in a saucepan with just enough water to cover them. Boil until soft. Drain water.
2. Mash sweet potato with a potato masher. Gradually add the syrup from the jar of sweet candied chestnut. Keep mashing until very smooth.
3. To get it extra smooth, scoop it into a strainer and press through with a spatula, returning it to the saucepan.
4. Place over low heat and keep stirring and kneading with the spatula. Add salt, mirin and sugar to taste. The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the sweet potato. In Japan the sweet potatoes are quite sweet so I only added about 2 Tbsp mirin and no sugar. In Australia, the sweet potatoes were not as sweet, so I added about 1/2 cup sugar. Add chestnuts and keep stirring over low heat for another minute.
Serve at room temperature.
Japanese sweet potatoes (satsumaimo) and jar of yellow candied chestnuts:
Just scoop onto a small individual serving plate.
To make into chestnut-shaped balls like mine, place a heaped tablespoon into the centre of a large sqare of plastic wrap. Bring the edges of the wrap together and twist together at the top, to create a chestnut shape. Refrigerate until an hour before serving.
I like serving it this way as it is easier to serve individual portions, and I like the neat look.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Tazukuri is quick and super easy to prepare, and keeps well in the refrigerator for weeks. (Not that it ever lasts that long in our home!) It's one of the Osechi Ryori New Year side dishes, but it also makes a tasty and healthy snack that can be enjoyed anytime, on it's own or as a side dish in a meal with rice.
The name "tazukuri" means "making rice fields". Anciently, these tiny dried fish were used as fertilizer in rice fields and helped to bring in an "abundant harvest". This has become the symbolic reason they are part of the New Year celebration.
Our family all love the little dried fish even without cooking them, so making them into Tazukuri just makes them disappear even faster! I think the addition of walnuts is a relatively recent thing, not everyone adds them, but we love walnuts, so in they go~
100g Small Dried Fish
4 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp Sake
2 Tbsp Shoyu
A sprinkling of Sesame Seeds (optional)
A small handful of walnuts (optional)
1. Toast walnuts by placing them in a frypan and gently heat, stirring, until fragrant. Tip onto a plate.
2. Wipe frypan clean, then toast dried fish in a similar manner until crispy. Tip onto a plate.
3. Wipe frypan again, then place sugar, mirin, sake and shoyu in frypan over low heat and swirl to dissolve sugar. Gently bring to the boil, simmer 1 min, then remove from heat.
4. Add fish, walnuts and sesame seeds to the frypan, toss to coat well.
5. Tip onto an oiled plate and toss again. (The oil is just to prevent too much stickiness)
In our osechi ryori box, top right corner: