Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Friday, January 2, 2015

Kinton (Kuri Kinton)

Sweet confection of mashed sweet potatoes with candied chestnuts. A festive dish popular at New Year. Lit. "chestnut gold mash."

Satsumaimo (sweet potatoes) are mashed and made with sugar into a sweetened puree (an), to which whole or crumbled candied chestnuts are added. Dried gardenia pods (kuchinashi no mi) can be added to enhance the yellow-golden color, although this is not an imperative as satsumaimo already have a yellow color of themselves.

The puree is eaten with a spoon. The taste is rather sweet, but not unpleasant.

This dish is part of osechi-ryori, the traditional New Years dishes, which always have an auspicious aspect. In this case it is the "gold" color (which also appears in the name, "kinton" could be pieces of gold), which suggests wealth and prosperity in business. Note that, despite its sweet character, this is not a dessert!

Kuri Kinton
[Kuri kinton]

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Kintoki Ninjin

Kintoki carrot. ้‡‘ๆ™‚ไบบๅ‚。Daucus carota.

In Japan, both the orange-colored Western carrot and the reddish Japanese carrot are popular vegetables.

The modern carrot originated in Afghanistan in the 10th century - an Arab agriculturist at that time describes both yellow and red varieties. Cultivated carrots appeared in China in the 14th century, and in Japan in the 18th century. The now all over the world so popular orange-colored carrots appeared in the 17th century in the Netherlands, where orange is the national color.

Kintoki Ninjin
[Kintoki carrot]

There are two indigenous varieties in Japan, both fresh red in color: kintoki and takinogawa; both are fairly long and slim (the takinogawa is even very thin).

Japanese carrots are in season in autumn and winter. They are often prepared as nimono, simmered dishes, and can also be used in nabemono (hotpot) and soups.

The kintoki is a Kyoto-brand vegetable and also called "Kyoto (red) carrot." These beautifully tapered carrots are deep-red in color. Compared to orange carrots, the kintoki carrot contains many nutrient components. The red color contains not only Beta carotene, but also lycopene. The flesh is tender and the taste is sweet. Kintoki carrots do not break apart during boiling. They are sweet and have only little typical carrot smell, but their characteristic flavor is stronger than that of other carrots.