Serves 8 as Hors d'oeuvre.
This sweetened puree is a popular New Year dish. Traditionally heavily sweetened with sugar or syrup and mizu-ame, this version is considerably lighter. Please keep it refrigerated.
The puree is usually mixed with chestnuts preserved in syrup, but apples and other fruit can make a fresher-tasting change.
"Kintoki" is the preferred cultivar of satsuma imo (sweet potato) to use, because it cooks up to a nice yellow color. However, if you are prepared to soak well, and then change the cooking liquid once or twice in the initial cooking, any cultivar will produce a reasonable yellow...unless you choose to use purple sweet potatoes, of course.
Counsel of perfection: crush gardenia pods into cooking water, boil till bright yellow, strain out pods, and THEN add sweet potatoes. This will ensure good, even coloring.
Also, boil sugar and other seasonings with some of the cooking liquid to make a syrup which can be added to the sieved sweet potatoes rather than adding dry sugar. It is for this reason that some people use the syrup from the chestnuts instead of sugar, but I find this can be sickly. I prefer to decrease the sugar and use more mirin. You can also use maple syrup or honey if you prefer.
- 500 g satsuma-imo sweet potatoes
- 90 g sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 T mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 2 kuchinashi (gardenia seed pod) optional
- 1 red apple optional
- 250 g whole chestnuts in syrup
* Peel imo rather thickly (most fiber is near the skin), cut into large chunks, soak in water for at least 1 hour (removes sap which will discolor cooked potato).
* Drain, rubbing any loose starch etc from surface.
* Microwave (600W) in a covered heatproof bowl with 1 c water, for about 12 minutes or until soft. Alternatively, simmer, with 2 gardenia pods crushed and wrapped in gauze or a teabag pouch, just covered with water, till soft. Drain and replace water once or twice if possible.
* If microwaving, do not drain, but mash remaining liquid and imo together, then sieve. If cooking on the stovetop, drain and reserve cooking liquid.
* In either case, mash sweet potato while hot, and sieve.
* Add seasonings, mix well. If too dry (should be a bit wetter than regular miso or applesauce)add either cooking liquid from apples or from sweet potatoes, or syrup from drained chestnuts.
* Microwave (600W) in a covered heatproof bowl 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, tip in to pot, and cook over low heat until thick, stirring occasionally and shaking pan (if you stir too much, the sugar will crystallize, making the puree less attractive).
* Add drained chestnuts or other fruit etc, mix, spread out to cool, and refrigerate until needed.
2 sharp red apples (preferably kougyoku cultivar)
2-3 T wine
* Core apple and cut into 8ths without peeling, cube. Soak in lightly salted water.
* Drain apples and place in heatproof bowl, sprinkle with sugar and wine, cover with plastic wrap and microwave at 600W for 9-10 minutes.
* Drain apples and reserve liquid (add back into sweet potato puree later).
2 slices canned pineapple
1 green kiwifruit
3 T raisins
1 small red apple
* Core apple, cut in 8ths without peeling, cube, simmer with a little sugar, add lemon juice to finish. Cool and drain.
* Peel and cube kiwifruit, and simmer briefly in syrup, cool and drain. Use kiwifruit raw if the dish does not need to keep – the raw kiwifruit is refreshing, but this dish spoils much faster than regular kinton unless the kiwifruit is cooked.
* Cut up pineapple, add all fruit and raisins to imo mixture. Serve.
Keywords: Vegan, Japanese, Hors d'oeuvre, Intermediate, Vegetables
( RG2068 )