A dessert that not only easy to cook but tastes delicious in cold winter but also a digestif, breath freshener and air-freshener??? Are you game enough??? Read on... :-P
I love persimmons but living in a tropical country, such delicious fruit is mostly imported with a quite a hefty sum to pay. Nevertheless, my solution to enjoy persimmons through out the year was in dried fruit which is far cheaper than fresh. Of course, if I chance upon promotional offer, you don't have to make me think twice! For those who are lucky to have persimmon trees and don't know what to do with them besides cooking or baking, here's a link on how to preserve or dried the lovely fruit. You can even oven-dried them if you don't have the facilities to do so.
First time I tasted this sweet Soojunggwa was in a Korean Restaurant. We arrived there quite late and other restaurants in the same block was either full or the menu wasn't interesting. We stumbled this Korean Restaurant because of the unique entrance door which looked like a traditional Korean gate or door in village. We peeked through the window and saw that there was no customers inside except a Korean lady behind the counter. Since we're willing to try something new and starving, we went inside to check with her if the kitchen was still opened. We're glad they were and were informed that most of their patrons came after the usual office hours or later. Indeed after half way through our dinner, a group of Korean men came in and the place was quite noisy with their chatters (I thought women supposed to be the most chatterbox) :-D
Now, Korean cuisine is very interesting and I was surprised the way they serve their food. I ordered Samgye Tang (stuffed young chicken with glutinous rice cooked in ginseng soup), Kimchi and Bori Cha. When my dish arrived, it was accompanied by several smaller dishes like radish pickles, soya bean sprouts and others which I never tasted before. There were 6 little bowls of this side dishes. The best part was... if I want extra of those side dishes, no problem with no extra costs :-D Well, I did asked for 2nd helping of the pickled Radish :-P At the end of our meals, this sweet Persimmon Tea was served as a digestif which also like mouth freshener with the addition of cinnamon and ginger. It's actual very good for cold Winter. Kind of warms up your body :-) At the restaurant it was served cold but I like it hot during winter... and you know what? Each time I cooked Soojunggwa, my whole home smelled so fragrant! Let's start cooking!
Persimmons In Cinnamon & Ginger Tea [Soojunggwa]
3 pcs Dried Persimmons
1 pc Cinnamon stick/bark~about 6 cm-8 cm long
5 g Fresh Ginger~ slice into several pieces
750 ml Water
30 g Raw Cane Sugar
Some pine nuts or more if you like.
1. In a pot, boil the water, cane sugar, cinnamon stick and ginger for 3-5 minutes. You will smell the combination of ginger and cinnamon filled up your kitchen... and whole house too!
2. Add the dried persimmons and let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it steep for 1-2 hours.
3. Remove the persimmons and sliced into several pieces. Set aside.
4. In individual serving bowls, add few pieces of the sliced persimmon and top it up with the sweet liquid. Garnish with pine nuts.
This tea can be serve Cold during hot summer months or Hot in the winter. For cold Persimmon Tea, after the liquid cools down, remove the persimmons and strain liquid into a jug. Put into the fridge for 2-3 days and before serving, add few sliced persimmons into chilled bowls. Garnish with pine nuts. You can omit the persimmons if you want but tell me who doesn't like to eat it! :-D
Note: Dried persimmons has a thin layer of whitish coating when you buy from Asian stores. It's actually natural fructose from the fruit itself when dried. If you like you can give a quick wash before cooking. You can also use Rock Sugar or usual White granulated sugar, which ever you have as sweetener. Don't forget to adjust the sweetness. If you like sweeter, add extra sugar or add more water if it's too sweet. The quantity in this recipe is just nice for me. I always start with less sugar and slowly add in more to taste.