Chestnuts are strictly seasonal and we eat chestnuts from Autumn to after new year’s day in Japan. They are very versatile, can be used both in savory and sweet dishes and are also loaded with nutritional goodness, low in fat and high in vitamin C to ward off colds. This kuri gohan recipe is a traditional Autumnal savory dish. In Japan, we eat these types of flavored rice dishes either hot or cold, so kuri gohan works great as part of a Japanese lunchbox in autumn.
– 1¾ cups Japanese rice
– ¼ cup glutinous rice
– 25 chestnuts
– 2¼ cups water
– 2 tbsp sake
– 2 tbsp mirin
– 10g sugar
– 6g kombu
– 1 tbsp black sesame
– 90ml sake
Washing the Rice
1. Rinsing: Place rice in a bowl and pour water quickly into bowl until it covers the rice completely. To wash the rice, use one hand to mix the rice around with brisk, light movements. Pour out all the water. Repeat this rinsing 3 times.
2. Polishing: With fingers curled as though holding a ball, insert your hand into the rice and, using a constant rhythm and pace, rub the grains of rice around several times.
3. Final Rinsing: Add plenty of fresh water, mix again lightly and quickly drain it off. Repeat steps 4-5 until the water runs nearly clear.
1. Place raw chestnuts and sugar in water and bring to a boil.
2. Turn heat off when it reaches a boil, leave the chestnuts in the hot water for half an hour, to soften the shell.
3. With a knife, crack open the bottom of chestnuts and discard the shells.
4. Place rice, kombu, chestnuts (on the top), sake, mirin, water and salt into a heavy pot.
5. Cover the pot with lid and set over a high heat.
6. When the water starts to boil, turn heat down to low and cook about 12 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and leave the pot in warm place for 10 minutes.
8. Take kombu out from cooked rice and turn over thoroughly with a shamoji, a flat rice paddle or wooden spoon. Put the lid back on and 8 minutes.
9. Place kuri gohan into rice bowl and sprinkle black sesame on the top.
Takashi’s 20 years Japanese cooking experience includes catering for heads of state and celebrities, and holding a number of Head Chef positions in both Japan and Ireland. Takashi was named “Chef of the Year 2015” by John and Sally of The McKenna’s Guide. He is an advocate for Japanese cooking here in Ireland and his aim for Miyazaki is simple: “There are so many types of Japanese food. It is like a treasure box. I want people to enjoy the real flavours of Japan.”