- Food and Cooking
Rice with Chestnuts and Sweet Potatoes
A Celebration of Fall in a Bowl of Rice
Food plays a vital role in Japanese culture and we love to celebrate the bounties of each season. I am particularly fond of fall not only for the beautiful weather, but also for the food available during this time. Chestnuts and sweet potatoes are at its peak in nutrition and taste.
Steamed rice with chestnuts and sweet potatoes is a typical fall dish enjoyed by many Japanese families. This recipe uses a rice cooker making it easy to get professional results. The dish is simple in flavor, highlighting the natural tastes and aromas of each ingredient.
*All photos taken by myself
The Food Culture of Japan
Learn about what authentic Japanese food is about and how to cook it at home. More than teriyaki, sushi and tempura, Japanese food uses the freshest seasonal ingredients, using techniques to highlight them.
Much more than just a cookbook, this book takes you on a journey through a cuisine rich in history.
Sweet Potatoes are Good For You
Did You Know...
Chestnuts are a great source of trace minerals and low in fat. They are often called the grain that grows on trees.
Although sweet potatoes are available all year around, they taste best in the fall. Here in Japan, you'll find them everywhere in various forms. Sweet potato cakes and pies, sweet potato ice cream, baked sweet potato vendors and even sweet potato kit kats pop up all over the city. Not only are they delicious but they are also highly nutritious.
One sweet potato contains only 130-160 calories and contains about twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, about half of the RDA for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene and more fiber than oatmeal! Also among all root vegetables, they have the lowest glycemic index rating and is recommended for those watching their GI levels.
To learn more about the sweet potato and its benefits, check out Natural News.
The Best Japanese Rice Cooker
Rice cookers are the best way to cook rice. This is one of the best brands and will result in restaurant quality rice every time.
Zojirushi is a favorite brand among Japanese households and is known for its reliability, which makes this my rice cooker of choice.
Fall Food Poll
What Is Your Favorite Fall Ingredient?
Let's Get Started!
Rice with chestnuts, or Kuri Gohan, and is a favorite during the fall and everyone can't seem to wait to get their fill of this comfort food here in Japan. For today's version, I decided to add some sweet potatoes to the original recipe which adds extra fiber and other nutrients to the dish.
If you plan to use cooked chestnuts, that's absolutely fine. You may also add the sweet potatoes to the rice cooker, but I decided to steam them separate from the rest, because they wouldn't fit into my already-full rice cooker.
For a complete meal, add a bowl of miso soup with tofu and seaweed. Feel free to add a piece of grilled fish for a traditional fall meal.
Prep Time: 15
Total Time: 40-60(depends on your rice cooker)
- 4 cups short-grain rice
- water according to your rice cooker's instructions
- 1 cup uncooked chestnuts peeled (cooked chestnuts can be used)
- 1 medium size sweet potato
- 1 large strip dried kombu cut into two pieces
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- black sesame seeds (optional)
Kombu is used mainly for adding umami to broths in Japanese cuisine. Use it in everything from miso soups to rice dishes.
- Unless your rice needs no rinsing, it is usually better to rinse the rice for best taste. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
- Put the rice into the rice cooker and add the chestnuts, kombu strips, mirin, soy sauce and salt.
- Add water according to your rice cooker's directions. A quick rule of thumb is to add the same amount to the amount of cups of rice you used and add an extra 1/2 cup. So if you used 4 cups of rice, you would use 4 1/2 cups of water.
- Cook the rice according to your rice cooker's directions. Once it has cooked, don't open for at least 5 minutes. Open the rice cooker and air the rice with a shamoji or rice paddle. This motion makes your rice fluffy.
- Prepare the sweet potatoes by cutting them into bite-sized pieces. Lay flat on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on medium-high for 3-5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the cooked sweet potatoes into the rice and mix well to combine. Mix carefully being mindful not to destroy the rice kernels. You want the rice to remain as fluffy as possible.
- Serve with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds if you like.
Kuri Gohan or Chestnut Rice
This video shows you how easy it is to make chestnut rice. Although I used peeled chestnuts, this video shows you how to make it from fresh chestnuts.