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Japanese chestnuts or Kuri is a popular autumn food in Japan. It is abundantly harvested around the cooler season of autumn and cultivated in Japan for centuries.
Japanese chestnuts are small to medium in size. The outer shell is spiny and double-layered, protecting the soft yellow flesh. Preparations and cooking suggestions vary. They can be roasted, boiled, steamed, candied, or dried. Chestnuts are used in a variety of dishes, including both traditional Japanese cuisine and Western-style desserts.


Japanese chestnuts. Photo by Hansjörg Keller on Unsplash

Japanese chestnuts are an excellent healthy snack as it is known to be rich in major nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Health benefits include promoting digestive health, acts as an antioxidant, prevents constipation, strengthens bone, improve brain health, and helps lose weight naturally. However, exercise precaution if you have food allergies and consumption should be moderate.


Because of its starchy texture and sweet flavor, chestnuts are used in rice dishes and desserts. It is also a perfect substitute for potatoes.

 1. Kurigohan

Kuri gohan

Kurigohan is a rice dish with a magnificent nutty aroma and beautiful presentation. Rice and chestnuts are steamed together with soy sauce, sake, mirin, a bit of sugar and salt, and kombu kelp. This is a perfect autumn dish for rice lovers.

 2. Kuri manju

Kuri manju

Kuri manju is a small, bite-sized bun stuffed with candied chestnut and azuki (red bean) paste. The top of the bun is brushed with egg yolk and baked. Kuri manju comes in various shapes such as a round circle or pointed oval and is often paired with green tea.

  3. Kuri dango

Kuri dango

Dango is small and round sticky dumplings made from mochiko rice flour. They come in a variety of flavors like shoyu (thickened soy sauce) and azuki red bean paste. They are typically boiled and skewered with 3 to 4 pieces together in one bamboo skewer, and may also be then grilled over an open flame. In the autumn, these dango are smothered in golden chestnut paste for a sweet treat.

 4. Kuri yokan

Kuri yokan

Kuri yokan (chestnut jelly cake) is a traditional Japanese jelly dessert that is rectangular in shape and made with preserved kuri and azuki paste. It is an ideal dessert that is usually served with tea after dinner.

 5. Roasted chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts or yaki-guri are a common sight at streetside vendors, and can also be found in many supermarkets during autumn. The chestnuts are added to a large pot filled with tiny pebbles. The pot is heated so that the pebbles slowly roast the chestnuts tenderly. This results in perfectly cooked, fluffy chestnuts that are easy to peel.

 6. Monburan (mont blanc cakes)

Monburan Image by takedahrs from Pixabay

Monburan is a Japanese dessert derived from the French dessert of puréed chestnuts topped with whipped cream known as “Mont Blanc”. Japanese monburan is a sponge cake with layers of fresh cream. The chestnut purée is piped over it in stringy, noodle-like layers that give it a mouth-watering appearance, and then topped with a candied chestnut. Monburan can be purchased in cake and pastry shops and a popular dessert in cafes and restaurants during the autumn season.

And so there goes my top 6 Japanese chestnut dishes and desserts. Whenever you travel to Japan, give these foods a try and you will love your autumn experience even more.


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