Ingredients for 4 Servings
Sweet potato (さつまいも / Satsuma imo) 200 g net
Gardenia (くちなし / Kuchinashi) 1
Apple (りんご / Ringo) 50 ml (100% juice)
Honey (はちみつ / Hachimitsu) 2 tbsp
Salt (塩/ Shio) Pinch
Apple (りんご / Ringo) 50 g
Apple (りんご / Ringo) 1 tbsp (100% juice)
Salt (塩/ Shio) Pinch
Plastic wrap and a tea pack
How to Make
1. Cut the sweet potato into rounds about 2 cm thick. Skin the rounds, taking off a bit of the potato together with the skin. Place the skinned rounds in water to remove unwanted flavors.
2. Break up the gardenia and place the pieces into the tea pack. Fill a medium-size pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the gardenia and the sweet potatoes. Continue cooking the sweet potatoes until you can easily push a bamboo skewer through them. At that point, drain off the water and mash the sweet potatoes in the pot. Add the apple juice, honey, and salt, and mix these into the sweet potatoes, with the pot on low heat. When you are finished mixing, turn off the heat.
3. Split the apple (without skinning it), and then split each half. Now slice each quarter into quarter rounds about 2-3 mm in thickness. Put the apple slices into a heat-resistant bowl, sprinkle on the salt, and mix. Drizzle 2 tsp of apple juice evenly over the apple slices, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and then microwave for 1 minute. Let the bowl cool.
4. Mix the cooled apple slices into the mashed sweet potatoes. Divide the kinton into 4 equal portions. Place each on a sheet of plastic wrap, enclose it in the wrap, and then shape the kinton into something that looks like a purse.
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).