Easy Japanese Recipes

Chestnut Rice (Kurigohan) 栗ご飯

Chestnut Rice | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Every fall I am thankful for all the new crops the farmers harvest.  Rice, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, mushroom, chestnuts just to name a few… The fall season provides abundant food to enjoy and this Japanese Chestnut Rice (Kurigohan 栗ご飯) is a perfect dish to appreciate this season.

Chestnut Rice | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

My father’s side of the family was from Niigata prefecture (新潟県) before they moved to Tokyo.  Nigata is known throughout Japan as the home of Koshihikari rice, sworn by many to be the best in Japan.  Every fall my family would receives new crop of rice from our family and friends in Niigata and I still remember how delicious the freshly milled rice was.

FWR Special Koshi 1

Earlier this year our friends at Far West Rice invited us to visit their rice field so that we can see how they transplant rice from green house to the field.  This project was a very special experiment for Far West Rice too because for the very first time, they tried to grow rice the Japanese way.  Typically in the US, the seeding is done by airplane dropping seeds into flooded fields.  For the experiment,

  1. Far West Rice sprouted the rice seed in the greenhouse until they became seedlings.
  2. Once the seedlings reached a certain maturity in the greenhouse, they were then ready to be transplanted to the field.
  3. The seedling plants had to reach a point of maturity so they would be able to flourish and tolerate the conditions in the field.

Here are some photos and videos we captured on our trip.

And the fall came and their special koshi rice was ready for harvest.

FWR Special Koshi 3

Here’s our friend Ted harvesting the stalks using the Japanese harvester (look how small this is compared to American harvester!).

FWR Special Koshi 2

Good Japanese rice has this beautiful pearly white shape.  It is shiny, aromatic, and resilient when it’s cooked, and each grain of rice is perfectly fluffy and distinct.  When you chew it, it has sweetness to it and has a wonderful bouncy texture.

FWR Special Koshi

Far West Rice will only polish and pack the rice when order is placed so that the rice stays fresh and keeps the rice in optimal condition.  Their rice is simply incomparable.  A perfect bowl of heavenly good rice.  And it goes so well with freshly harvested chestnuts.

Chestnut Rice | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

We also made a video for you to show how to make Chestnut Rice.  And please follow my YouTube channel if you haven’t.  :)

Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!

Chestnut Rice (Kurigohan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 5-6
  • 2 cups premium Japanese short grain rice
  • ¼ cups sweet rice (glutinous rice, mochigome)
  • 1 Tbsp. sake
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 20-25 chestnuts
  • 2⅔ cups water
  1. Put rice in a large bowl. Gently wash the rice with cold water and discard water. Repeat this process about 3-4 times until water becomes almost translucent. Let the rice soak in water for 30 minutes. Transfer the rice into a sieve and drain for 15 minutes.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Put chestnuts in boiling water, cover with the lid, and turn off the heat. Set aside for 30 minutes and drain (It’s easier to peel when they are still warm).
  3. Using a knife, make an incision around the edge where the flat surface and bottom of a chestnut meets. Then start peeling the shell.
  4. Then peel the inner skin completely and soak in a bowl of water for 10 minutes. Peel the rest of chestnuts and change the water a few times.
  5. Put the rice, water, sake, and salt in a heavy bottom pot and lightly mix all together. Then place chestnuts on top.
  6. Bring the rice to a boil over medium heat. Take a quick peek to see if water is boiling (otherwise do not open the lid). Once water is boiling, turn the heat to low and cook covered for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed (take a quick peek!). If you see there is still water left, close the lid and continue cooking for a little longer.
  7. Remove the pot with the lid on from the heat source and let the rice steam for 10 minutes before opening the lid.
  8. Fluff up and mix the rice; wet a rice paddle and slice through the rice with the scooper, then fold over the rice. Sprinkle salt and black sesame seeds.
Prep time does not include inactive time.

If you're using a rice cooker, follow manufacture's instruction for cooking rice (from Step 5).

You can omit ¼ cup sweet rice and use just 2¼ cups short grain rice.

If your chestnuts are big, cut them in half so that they will be cooked thoroughly.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Posted in: Autumn, Rice & Donburi, Vegetarian

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  • Cristina November 27, 2013, 7:14 pm

    Oh this must taste good! Love those large chestnuts and your step-by-step in attaining the nut meat. Making this!

    A lovely holiday weekend to you and your family Nami! ;)

    • Nami November 29, 2013, 3:13 pm

      Thank you Cristina! I hope you’re having a nice Thanksgiving weekend as well! xo

  • Hisaye November 27, 2013, 7:18 pm

    This looks good! I remember my mother roasting chestnuts in the oven this time of year: Yes, we had to peel them while they were still hot, as they’d be even harder to remove the shells when they were cold. If I crumbled the soft chestnuts inside, I’d get scolded, which may explain why I haven’t cooked chestnuts in a long time! :)

    Just wondering: would it be possible to cook this in an electric rice cooker, particularly the “smart” kind with multiple settings?

    • Nami November 27, 2013, 10:04 pm

      Hi Hisaye! I love roasted chestnuts too! You can use your rice cooker (I usually use a rice cooker). A lot of people don’t have a rice cooker, so I made this rice with a pot. :) Hope you enjoy this recipe!

  • Minnie@thelady8home November 27, 2013, 7:28 pm

    What a perfect Thanksgiving post! I am so impressed by your step by step instructions. The clicks are beautiful!

  • chicago foodie girl November 27, 2013, 7:29 pm

    This sounds fantastic! I love chestnuts, but haven’t actually made anything with them on my own. I’m definitely going to give this a try!

  • A_Boleyn November 27, 2013, 7:33 pm

    I’ve tried eating chestnuts but they didn’t really do anything for me.

  • Monica November 27, 2013, 7:37 pm

    Wow – how amazing to visit an actual rice field and see the rice being harvested. It looks beautiful. And chestnuts are one of my favorite things to eat. I just had some as my after dinner snack tonight! : ) They are not easy to come by fresh so I load up around the holidays when they’re available. I adore the sound of this rice dish with chestnuts!

  • Ellena Guan (@CuisineParadise) November 27, 2013, 7:57 pm

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I love chestnut rice and I just saw these lovely big chestnut in season at our supermarket here. Going to get some to try this out.

  • Hotly Spiced November 27, 2013, 9:38 pm

    What a great looking rice. Chestnuts aren’t very common in Oz so I don’t know much about them except that people roast them at Christmas time! And that they’re hard to peel – you’ve made that part look very easy xx And Happy Thanksgiving!

  • sowmya November 27, 2013, 10:12 pm

    Beautiful clicks.. I loved them all.. This type of rice is very new to me.. looks delicious :)

  • John@Kitchen Riffs November 27, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Chestnuts and rice? Not a combo I’ve tried, but sounds wonderful. Love the light on your photos – wonderful stuff. As is the recipe. ;-) Thanks for this, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen November 27, 2013, 11:05 pm

    I absolutely love rice. I cannot eat a meal without it. I enjoyed your description of how rice is packaged only when the customer orders it. Must look into this brand. This is a wonderful rice recipe with chestnuts. We will surely enjoy it. Thanks for sharing, Nami!

  • Torroong Jarungidanan November 28, 2013, 8:55 am

    I write a cookbook in Thai. There are some Japanese food in my menus. Your blog is my inspiration. I usually peel raw chestnuts and steam them. I will try this chest nut rice very soon. I did the sweet potato and it was so good.

    • Nami November 29, 2013, 3:12 pm

      Hi Torroong! Thank you so much for following my blog. :) I personally think it’s hard to peel raw chestnuts. When the chestnuts are warm and absorbed some moisture, it’s easier to peel (still a lot of work to peel though. :)). I love Japanese sweet potato rice. So delicious!!

  • Ann November 28, 2013, 9:25 am

    Hello Nami, will definitely want to try cooking this chestnut rice. Chestnut is one of my favourite snack. Can we use all Japanese short grain rice instead of mixture of the glutinuous rice. Will it make any different in the flavour of this dish ?

    • Nami November 29, 2013, 3:17 pm

      Hi Ann! Yes, you can use only short grain rice (2 1/4 cup). The flavor is pretty much same, but the texture will be more sticky (from sweet rice). Hope you enjoy this dish! :)

  • Orchidea November 28, 2013, 10:02 am

    Hi. I know I love this dish already and I would like to try it. There is no much time to cook at the moment with the baby but later on.

  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz November 28, 2013, 12:47 pm

    I have never eaten freshly milled rice, I am sure it would be an amazing eye opener. This is a great recipe with chestnuts. Such great pics.

  • Ash-foodfashionparty November 28, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Isn’t it amazing to visit the fields. Lovely.
    I’ve never made anything else out of a chestnut other than roast it. This is such a fantastic looking dish. I am planning on a Japanese themed party, this would be so good. I will be visiting your blog for all the ideas.
    Great one Nami. Enjoy the long weekend.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 28, 2013, 4:40 pm

    What a wonderful treat it would be to have freshly milled rice! And thanks for taking us on this lovely trip to see the rice being harvested. Isn’t that interesting the way that it is done. I wonder how they do it here in Australia?

  • Dedy@Dentist Chef November 28, 2013, 8:10 pm

    I just know about this from you nave, even i was visiting almost hundrets of japanese restaurant here in Indonesia…
    btw, can i use the dried or canned chestnut for this recipe???
    i’m curious weather the chestnut will be overcooked and mashed during the cooking???

    • Nami November 29, 2013, 3:19 pm

      Hi Dedy! I’ve never used dried or canned chestnuts before. Since cooking time is about little bit over 10 minutes, I don’t think it gets mushy or overcooked. :)

  • Baby Sumo November 29, 2013, 5:26 am

    Nami, you make a bowl of rice look sooooooo appealing ;)

  • Caroline Taylor November 29, 2013, 10:56 am

    This sounds so good, never tried anything similar.

  • Kelly November 29, 2013, 11:42 am

    I adore chestnuts and love the sound of this chestnut rice Nami! Thank you for sharing another great recipe and hope you and your family had an amazing Thanksgiving and you enjoy the rest of the weekend :)

  • Rika November 29, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Nami, and your lovely family! Chestnuts are very tasty in herbal stews especially rice. I have glutinous rice in the pantry and I was figuring out what to do with them, apparently we have been using them instead of rice, which worked out well! Black sesame seeds are my favorite garnish! Btw, love the Le Creuset color, it actually looks beautiful in the photos!

  • The Ninja Baker November 29, 2013, 2:07 pm



  • Jina @ Soy & Ginger November 29, 2013, 5:28 pm

    This looks so delicious! Unfortunately it’s spring in Australia at the moment, but it’ll be great for when autumn comes around.

  • nipponnin November 29, 2013, 5:43 pm

    ちゃんと栗をむいて作るところエライ!私が最近作ったのは、栗の甘露煮使ったんだもんなあ。 お鍋、ル・クルーゼでごはん炊くのは、私の友人らでも流行ってます。私は持ってないんすけど。 早送りのテープだから、簡単そうに見えるけど、栗ごはん、本当に大変な労力ですよね。ご苦労さま。マジで美味しそう!いただきまーすって私が言いたいわ。

  • Ramona November 30, 2013, 4:47 am

    I have never worked with chestnuts… I would love to try this rice. :) Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. :)

  • Evelyn November 30, 2013, 7:46 am

    I just love the simplicity of this recipe. It sounds so delicious especially I am a chestnut lover. Unfortunately, I have never had any success peeling the inner skin. After watching your video, I may want to give it a try again. Thank you so much, Nami!

  • Daniela November 30, 2013, 12:41 pm

    I think I’ve never seen such beautiful looking raw rice,Nami!
    It must taste divine, especially together with the delicate chestnut flavor.

  • Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living November 30, 2013, 2:19 pm

    Love the idea of chestnuts and rice – I’ve never tried that Nami, but it sounds especially good in the cold winter months.

  • Mi Vida en un Dulce November 30, 2013, 6:33 pm

    I always wanted to know how chestnut taste…it’s just impossible to find it here. We don’t have too much kind of nuts, just pecans or nuts…that’s it :(

  • Giulietta | Alterkitchen December 1, 2013, 1:43 am

    What a simple and yet amazing recipe!
    I love chestnuts, and I know I’d love this recipe :)

  • Lucy @ Lucyeats December 1, 2013, 11:42 am

    Beautiful pictures, Nami. How lucky you are to receive a bag every year!

  • Sandra December 1, 2013, 3:08 pm

    This is so interesting Nami, we learn so much from you!

  • Sandra | Sandra's Easy Cooking December 1, 2013, 3:10 pm

    What a lovely simple meal! We love chestnuts and I just bought yesterday one pack…can’t wait to try your delicious recipe. By the way lovely video, I enjoyed watching!

  • Lynna December 1, 2013, 6:54 pm

    My parents love eating chestnuts so I’m sure they would love it if I showed them this recipe. I love the different rice dishes Asian culture come up with.

  • TheKitchenLioness December 1, 2013, 10:59 pm

    Nami, you already know that I am just crazy about chestnuts and although I made a chsetnut soup the other day, I have never tried this wonderful looking Chsetnut Rice before. I am sure that my kids would relly go for this if I made some wonderful chicken with it – hopefully the chestnuts in stores will still last for a while so I can buy many more and try new dished´s such as this one!
    The pictures are just amazing – I love the photo of the rice bowl, just love it! I worked for I do not know how long on one picture yesterday, for some reason it just never looked right – so I know how much love and effort you put in all of our posts!

  • Balvinder December 2, 2013, 9:01 am

    I love chestnuts and use them instead of potatoes, sometimes. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe of rice with chestnuts.

  • Raymund December 2, 2013, 12:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing this rice recipe, now I have another way of serving rice. Nice one specially for this Christmas Season.

  • Susan W December 2, 2013, 4:43 pm

    I am making this for dinner tonight. I compared it to my recipe and yours uses the mochigome, so I am trying it! Yummy!

    • Nami December 9, 2013, 12:44 am

      Hi Susan! So sorry for my late response. I hope the rice came out well. Thank you so much for giving it a try! :)

  • mjskit December 2, 2013, 7:38 pm

    Thank you for showing the boiling method for chestnuts! It looks a lot easier than roasting them. I’ve only roasted them one and it was rather difficult. Loved the flavor of them those. This rice does look delicious – simple flavors and textures! Great recipe as always Nami!

  • Laura @ Family Spice December 2, 2013, 8:23 pm

    YUM! What a great way to highlight fall chestnuts! And I’m fascinated with the rice farm. Never saw the rice plant up close like that- amazing!

  • Mich Piece of Cake December 2, 2013, 9:13 pm

    I simply love chestnuts and cooking them with rice looks really good!

  • Sissi December 3, 2013, 9:24 am

    I think you could convert me into chestnuts with such a beautiful bowl of rice :-) I love so much my rice and I know why: it’s apparently also koshihikari (though made in Italy). Last week I went in Paris to a very busy Japanese small restaurant and the rice was so awful… I think I got used to a very good one ;-)

  • rebecca December 3, 2013, 11:24 am

    looks delicious and nice educational post

  • Reem December 4, 2013, 3:48 pm

    Love this one… I LOVE chestnut….
    Love your videos… Great Job Girl!

  • invicta watches December 5, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re
    working with? I’m going to startt my oown blog in thhe
    near future but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and
    Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m
    looking for smething unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  • cquek December 5, 2013, 10:57 pm

    So light & fluffy! You’re so talented! I never thought of chestnut , i love to have a bowl.

  • Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen December 10, 2013, 9:24 am

    What a great family recipe, Nami! Thank you for sharing- it is beautifully shot as well.

  • Asmita December 11, 2013, 6:20 am

    Simply gorgeous!