Recipe: Kuri Kinton

By Mari Nameshida
December 30, 2013
Food & Drink

Kuri Kinton is a traditional Japanese New Year's food (osechi) made from sweet potato and chestnuts. Each osechi dish has a symbolic meaning, and Japanese often return to their hometowns and gather to have osechi on New Year's Day. Kuri Kinton is eaten on January 1 because of its golden color, which symbolizes prosperity for the coming year. It is a very tasty sweet paste that is delicious on its own, but if I have leftovers then I use them to bake bread with this paste as filling, or sometimes I make pound cake with this paste.

Sweet Potato


250 grams sweet potato

7-10 sweetened chestnuts

1 dried gardenia fruit (kuchinashi no mi; see photo below)


50 grams sugar

50 milliliters sweet chestnut syrup

3 tablespoons mirin

Pinch of salt



1. Peel off the skin of the sweet potato and slice about two to three centimeters thick. Soak in water.

2. Crush the dried gardenia fruit.

3. Boil water, then add the sweet potato and the dried gardenia fruit. Cook until the potatoes become soft.

4. Drain the water and remove the dried gardenia fruit. Place sweet potatoes in a food processor and mash to a smooth consistency.

5. Place the mashed potato with the sugar, sweet chestnut syrup, mirin and salt in a pan and heat it up. When the potato paste becomes shiny, add the chestnuts, then stop the gas. Cook it down.