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Japanese New Years Food: Chestnut and Sweet Potato Recipe

Kuri-kinton is a Japanese sweet dish made of pureed sweet potatoes and boiled chestnuts.  It is traditionally eaten at New Years and symbolizes wealth perhaps because of its gold color. This year I decided to add sweetened pureed white bean for more variety.  I then made the puree into a hershey-kiss like shape. This technique of twisting and shaping wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) is known as “chakin-shibori”.

I also used maple syrup as a sweetener rather than white sugar to try to make the recipe a little bit more healthy.

While it may not be the most traditional style of making kuri-kinton it certainly was delicious.  I used the left overs from the sweet potato and chestnut chakin-shibori and put it in a ramekin to make a more traditional kuri-kinton.

But today I will share a recipe for the less traditional style.

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes (boiled and mashed)

8-10 chestnuts (partially mashed)

1 cup of sweetened white bean paste

maple syrup

Directions:

1. mix mashed sweet potatoes and chestnuts and sweeten with maple syrup (to taste)

2. have the two mixtures (a. sweetened sweet potatoes and chestnuts and b. sweeter white bean paste) ready and using a muslin cloth or plastic wrap, place 1/2 of a tablespoon of each mixture to the center of the cloth. You do not need to mix these two different mixtures as they look more interesting when their colors are kept separate.

3. wrap the cloth around the mixture and tighten it at the top by twisting it.  Remove from cloth and place your wagashi on a serving dish.  Repeat until you have used all of the mixture.

**You can be creative by making some plain white bean wagashi, some sweet potato and chestnut wagashi and some combinations of the two.  You can also making indentations and interesting shapes on your wagashi by using a toothpick and pressing into the wagashi.

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