Ingredients for 4 Servings
Sweet potato (さつまいも / Satsuma imo) 1 (about 400 g [250 g net weight])
Gardenia (くちなし / Kuchinashi) 1
Reduced amazake* (煮詰めた甘酒 / Nidzumeta amazake) 80 g
Salt (塩/ Shio) Pinch
Dried apricots (干しあんず / Hoshi anzu) 40 g
Water (水 / Mizu) 50 ml
Teabag (ティーバッグ / Tīhbaggu) 1
*Reduced amazake is amazake that has been heated to reduce its water content and enhance sweetness. As an example of how this is done, 400 g of fairly thick amazake would be heated to reduced it to 300 g, at which point it should be the consistency of jam.
How to Make
1. Cut the dried apricots into cubes about 1 cm long on each side. Place these into 50 ml of water for at least 20 minutes to soften them. (If you are short of time, you can use warm water and soak for about 10 minutes.)
2. Cut the sweet potato into rounds about 2 cm thick and skin these, making sure to remove all of the skin and a bit of the underlying potato. Soak these in water for about 10 minutes, then drain. Break up the gardenia and put the pieces into a teabag.
3. Fill a medium-size pot full with water, add the sweet potatoes and the teabag, and bring the pot to a boil. When the potatoes have softened, turn off the heat and drain off the water. Mash the sweet potatoes in the pot. (If you do not have a masher, you can press the sweet potatoes through a sieve.) Add the amazake, salt, and the water used to soften the apricots, place the pot on low heat and mix. Continue until you see steam rising and the contents of the pot become a thick paste.
4. Add the apricots. This will cause the mixture to cool, so continue to heat until you see steam rising once again. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool.
Significance of Kinton as an Osechi Dish
Kinton is written with the Chinese characters金団. 金 (kin) means gold, 団 (ton) refers to a group – often of people, but this character is also used in the word “futon” (布団), which might literally be interpreted as cloth that has been grouped. Kinton (金団) refers more specifically to gold dumplings (金の団子 kin no dango) or a golden quilt (金の布団 kin no futon). And these in turn are metaphors for gold nuggets or ingots (金塊 kinkai), or the gold coins (flat ovals) used from around 1600 to 1867 in Japan. Kinton, therefore, symbolizes financial good fortune (金運 kin-un) or good luck in competition (勝負運 shōbu-un).
Recipe Developed by Machiko Tateno