Japan ushers in the New Year with osechi ryori—a set of various traditional dishes, each representing a desired outcome for the year ahead. If you’re looking for an increase in your bank account, try attracting fortune with kuri kinton—a sweet-potato-and-chestnut dessert whose bright shade of yellow symbolizes fortune, or gold.

Start to finish: 15 mins
Servings: 6 kuri kinton

  • 1 sweet potato, medium-sized (choose beniharuka, benikirara, kanpachi or similar)
  • 6 pieces kuri no kanroni (chestnuts in syrup)
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • Rum or cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp-1 tbs dried okara


  1. Rinse sweet potato with skin intact. With plastic wrap, wrap without wiping the moisture off. Microwave on medium to high (600-800W) for 5 minutes or until cooked tender.
  2. Peel skin off sweet potato. With a masher or fork, mash. Add butter, sugar, salt and rum or cinnamon, if desired. Keep mixing.
  3. If too soft, add dried okara. Start with 1 tsp; gradually add to mixture until consistency is just right.
  4. On plastic wrap, spread 1/6 of mixture. Make into a small, flat, round shape and place drained chestnut in the middle. Fold plastic wrap so the potato covers the chestnut‘s bottom and sides. Squeeze the top to form a shape called chakin shibori.
  5. Note: If you find the sweet potato to be sweet enough, you can skip the sugar. Also, be careful when peeling, as the sweet potato can be very hot.