Friday, May 15, 2015

Sweet Stewed Chestnuts (栗の甘露煮)

If you want to make kuri manjū but can’t get stewed chestnuts, make them yourself! (Not at this time of year… they’re in season in fall.) I made them for kuri kinton which is a special New Year’s dish, but had lots left over. They are also an important part of chawan mushi (a savory steamed egg pudding).

Sweet Stewed Chestnuts (栗の甘露煮, kuri no kanroni)

  • 500g raw chestnuts in the shell
  • 300mL water
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 40mL mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rum (or more, if you like rum flavor)
  • (I’ve seen some recipes call for くちなしの実 kuchinashi no mi, which colors the chestnuts bright yellow, but no worries if you can’t get it. I believe these are gardenia seed pods.)


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, pierce the shell of each chestnut on the flat side with the tip of a knife. Add the chestnuts to the boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes.

Drain the chestnuts and let them cool a bit, until you can handle them. The outer shell is pretty easy to remove at this point; the problem is the inner skin, which you also have to peel off. I used the tip and edge of a (dull) knife to scrape it off. Rinse to remove any remaining peel and bits of shell. (The store-bought variety of stewed chestnuts are a lot more evenly shaped and bright yellow color; however, I imagine that a lot of chestnut gets lost when cutting them to that shape.)

Put the water and sugar into a pot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is melted, then add the mirin, rum, and peeled chestnuts. (If you can get kuchinashi no mi, put one in a bit of cheesecloth or teabag and add that too.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool. (Remove the kuchinashi no mi.) Store the chestnuts in the stewing liquid in a glass jar in the refrigerator. They should keep for several months.

In case you were wondering, this is what the kuchinashi no mi looks like.

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