It’s chestnut season. This year the season opened a little late and closes early May. Chestnuts are a very healthy food with high levels of vitamin C but unlike other nuts they have little fat. They are also a good source of vitamin E, potassium and protein.
Because chestnuts contain about 50% water they are highly perishable and fresh chestnuts should be kept in the fridge or freezer.
Chestnuts are lovely on their own. Simply boil them in their shells for 10 minutes, cut them in half and eat with a teaspoon scooping out the flesh. Or you can simply roast them with salt.
Chestnuts are also used in many different recipes – both savory and sweet. Japanese people cook chestnuts with rice to cherish autumn! A real delicacy. European people use them in stuffing for roast poultry. They are also used in many sweet recipes too.
Here are some chestnut recipes to enjoy.
How to roast chestnuts at home
- Heat oven to 200C
- Slit to make a cross cut in each chestnut with a sharp knife. Make sure you pierce both the shell and the skin, otherwise they explode! Dangerous!
- Place on a baking tray, slit side up. Sprinkle some water all over the chestnuts.
- Roast for 10-15minutes until the shell is crisp and partially burnt.
- Take them out of the oven and wrap in a dry tea towel for a while until chestnuts are cool enough to handle.
- Peel shell and skin by hand while they are still warm. It is hard to peel cold chestnuts – so reheat them if they get too cold.
Sticky rice with chestnuts
Ingredients (serve 4)
1 cup (250ml) white medium grain rice
½ cup white glutinous rice
2-3 dried shiitake mushrooms – soak in warm water to soften and cut in small pieces
100g lean pork mince or cooked pork (left over roast pork work very well – chopped)
½ carrot –cut in small pieces
20 chestnuts – peeled and halved
1 tablespoon sake or dry white wine
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil.
How to make sticky rice with chestnuts
- Rinse rice and glutinous rice together and place in a rice cooker.
- Add shiitake, carrot, pork mince and chestnuts on the rice.
- Mix water, sake, salt, oyster sauce and sesame oil.
- Add cooking liquid in the rice cooker and stir well.
- Put the rice cooker on.
- Leave 5 minutes after the rice cooker stops before serving. This rice is lovely at room temperature too.
Ingredients (for a pound cake tin)
250g peeled chestnuts
70g unsalted butter
2 eggs separated
4 tablespoons milk
2-3 slices (100g) of bread – cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon brandy or vanilla extract
Butter for greasing the cake tin
How to make Chestnut Pudding
- Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking paper. Grease sides with butter. Pre heat oven to 160C.
- Put chestnuts and water just enough to cover the nuts in a sauce pan. Bring to boil. Cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes. Drain and chop roughly.
- In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Mix egg yolks, milk and brandy or vanilla.
- Mix bread cubes and chestnuts then add to the butter mixture.
- In another bowl whisk egg white until it forms a peak.
- Fold egg white into bread & butter mixture and pour into the prepared cake tin.
- Cover with greased aluminum foil. Pour boiling water in a baking tray and place the cake tin on it. Cook in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Let cool. Slice & serve with yoghurt or whipped cream.