All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Kuri chakin / mashed steamed chestnut cakes

These little sweets are a personal experiment that I made as a substitute for kuri kinton, a chestnut dish for financial luck that is often part of the New Year's Day meal. While standard ingredients for kuri chakin are only chestnuts and sugar, I mixed chestnuts with shiroan bean paste and roasted satsumaimo. These sweets are not as yellow as typical kuri kinton, so they might not have the Midas touch, but they can provide a gently sweet reward and relaxing moment.

One chakin cake (1/10 of recipe):
54 calories; 1.0 g protein; 0.2 g fat; 12.1 g carbohydrate; 10.7 g net carbs; 1 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.4 g fiber

(Makes 10 chakin cakes)
10-15 kuri chestnuts (14 chestnuts in photo; 12 used in recipe below)
40 g shiroan lima bean paste
50 g yakimo roasted satsumaimo sweet potato (strained)


Put chestnuts and plenty of water in large prep bowl.
Eliminate those that float on surface.


Steam chestnuts on medium heat for 30-40 minutes.


Cut chestnuts in half, and spoon out flesh into suribachi mortar.
Obtain 220 g chestnut flesh.


 Add shiroan and yakiimo paste, and mix well.


Take 30 g of mixture, wrap with plastic film or moistened hard-wrung cloth, and squeeze to form tight balls.


Toast with a torch (optional).
Keep in covered container.

  • "Chakin" is the shortened form of "chakin shibori," the name for this type of often sweet dish where ingredients are mashed and then wrapped with cloth or plastic film and squeezed ("shibori") to form a shape. Chakin by itself means the tea cloth used to wipe off tea from cups during tea ceremony.
  • Kuri chakin is often called kuri kinton in some regions.
  • There is no rule on the shape of chakin as long as each piece is tightly squeezed so it doesn't crumble until eaten.
  • The photo at right is of an attempt to make them look like shelled chestnuts. I need more practice on marking the grooves ...
(Last updated: August 23, 2017)


Anonymous said...

I immediately wanted to give this a try but realized that I only had small Spanish chestnuts and purple sweet potatoes, haha. I decided to proceed nonetheless with a reduced amount of yakiimo and the mixture turned a rather nice shade of pink or lavender. Perhaps one could press the mixure into a kashigata or something similiar as pinkish chestnuts do look a bit strange.

Despite the colour, the taste was great. I'll try to buy normal satsumaimo next time.

neco said...

Glad you liked kuri chakin. Pinkish chestnuts may be unexpected to see, but that's interesting. Can be made into a lavender color aster or chrysanthemum among fall-blooming flowers …? Or a cluster of large beads to look like murasaki-shikibu beautyberry?