Recipe – Chestnut Rice (Kuri Gohan)


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

Ingredients
  • 5 chestnuts
  • 1½ cups Japanese short-grain rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons sake
  • Black sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • Salt flakes, to taste

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Method
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
  2. Add chestnuts, cover, remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, wash rice under cold running water about 3 times, stirring it well each time, until the water runs almost clear. Drain well.
  4. Place in a rice cooker with the 2 cups of water and set aside.
  5. Drain chestnuts. While still warm, quarter and peel off the shells and as much of the inner skin as possible.
  6. Add sake and 1 teaspoon of salt to the rice and stir to combine.
  7. Place chestnut on top of the rice and turn the rice cooker on.
  8. Once rice is cooked, set aside for at least 10 minutes before opening the lid.
  9. Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  10. Remove from pan and set aside.
  11. Serve rice and chestnuts sprinkled with salt and sesame seeds.

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