Chestnuts are a favourite autumn food in Japan in both savoury and sweet dishes. At their simplest, yakiguri (roasted chestnuts) are sold to passers-by from mobile street stands – just as they are in Europe. For something slightly more filling they’re combined with rice in this simple and delicious classic dish of kuri gohan. If you use a good sake in the cooking, you could always enjoy a little more with the finished dish – I also like a glass of Soumah Tutto Bianco, a field blend of savagnin, chardonnay, viognier and pinot grigio that has the fruit and body to wrap around the slightly sweet, mouth-filling chestnuts.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
- 5 chestnuts
- 1½ cups Japanese short-grain rice
- 2 cups water
- 3 teaspoons sake
- Black sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- Salt flakes, to taste
Find more Japanese cooking inspiration with Be Inspired’s Month of Japanese Recipes+Video’s pack.
- Bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
- Add chestnuts, cover, remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash rice under cold running water about 3 times, stirring it well each time, until the water runs almost clear. Drain well.
- Place in a rice cooker with the 2 cups of water and set aside.
- Drain chestnuts. While still warm, quarter and peel off the shells and as much of the inner skin as possible.
- Add sake and 1 teaspoon of salt to the rice and stir to combine.
- Place chestnut on top of the rice and turn the rice cooker on.
- Once rice is cooked, set aside for at least 10 minutes before opening the lid.
- Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- Serve rice and chestnuts sprinkled with salt and sesame seeds.