(Tip: if the seller allows you to choose the chestnuts, try to choose those with the semi-circle shape, as they are much easier to de-skin)
Autumn, the season of chestnuts, there will be lot of stalls selling raw chestnuts in the market. I love chestnuts but have never experience cooking them myself. As since young, mum would have the raw chestnuts cooked ready as our snacks after school or work.
At the beginning, mum would just boil them for sometimes to cook them, then we complained that it was so difficult and painful to de-skin the shell. I remember once that mum baked a batch of chestnuts in the oven and you know what, the chestnuts burst and popped in the oven which created a havoc and mess. Then, mum learned that by cutting or splitting the chestnut would released the pressure while baking but the chestnut turned dry after baking, so it was another failure. After all the complaints & failure, mum decided to boil the chestnut, drained them, and dried cooking the chestnut in the pot, this way, the chestnuts would be moist and slightly easier to de-skinned but the pot would be blacken and extremely difficult to clean. However, mum had given up experimenting again and stick to this method since.
When I saw the 1st seller selling the raw chestnuts these season, I picked about 600gm and out of a sudden, I decided to try cooking them myself. After gathering mum's failure and as I am one who are 'kiasi' (afraid of losing), I experimented with half from the batch.
1. Give the chestnuts a thorough wash
2. Cover chestnuts with water, add in 1 tsp salt, boil for 15 min
3. Drain chestnuts after cooking, cut the chestnut at the end but do not split it totally.
Meantime, preheat oven at 180C
4. The chestnuts would look like this after baking in the oven for 15 min
5. Peeling off the skin is not difficult or painful anymore, most importantly you are able to get a whole chestnut!
I was so happy when I able to peel off the skin at ease and without breaking them apart. I had tried this method for several times and it has never fail me :)