金柑甘露煮 Candied Kinkan
I absolutely love these little tangy morsels! Kinkan 金柑 or probably more familiar to us in Singapore and Malaysia as “kumquat” 金橘 are often associated with Chinese New Year, when they are purchased from floral nurseries to adorn homes during the festive period as they are symbolic associated with little golden nuggets hanging on lusciously green shrubs. Huat ah!
We see them in abundance during Jan and Feb but owning to their short fruiting season, they were available only for a limited period of time each year. Delightful they might look, i’m more interested in how they taste! Kumquats are sour to the core with hints of sweetness amidst all that astringency. Absolutely love it! And what more, they can be eaten whole, skin and all. Minus the seeds of course, which are usually spitted out in the uttermost ungracious manner! So I love to enjoy this, in the comforts of my own bedroom watching my favorite DVD. Pure indulgence I must say, but much healthier than a bag of salted chips duncha think? Gives me the excuse to pop a few more!
Alas they come and go in such a blitz, leaving one longing for more. And a whole year’s wait it gonna to be, I thought to myself. So I was absolutely enthralled when I saw punnets of kumquats available at our local supermarkets last weekend. Little elongated golden balls of goodness peering from inside their plastic containers. “Bring me home!” I heard they shout out. These were imported from Miyazaki Prefecture 宫崎县 in Kyushu Japan and are freaky expensive! Hefty price tags compared to those we get from China during CNY period. “Got-to-have-some-kumquat…. got-to-have-some-kumquat…” some monotonous inner voice beckoned from within. Two punnets I tell myself, and off to the cashier to pay for them. Just two punnets… for now.
But at home, I wasted no time to give them a good rinse and rubdown to remove any eeky stuff that might be still stuck on their skins. We must treat our guests well as they came all the way from Japan! We must give them our very best, before we eat them! Upon sinking my teeth into the first, I’d suddenly realised that I’d better think of ways to extent their shelf life so as to prolong the duration of enjoyment. A search over the internet land me here. A simple yet very inviting recipe. What’s more convincing is, she’s stayed in Japan for a while and thus must have had the real thang! Here‘s another version, interesting cos the le sucre cuit, kumquats et al are all cooked in a microwave and takes only 15 min!
Here’s the recipe reproduced from La Fuji Mama’s website.
Kinkan Kanro-ni (Candied Kumquats)
12 ounces kumquats
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1. Wash and dry the kumquats, then use a sharp pairing knife to cut vertical slits into the fruit (between 5 to 8 slits depending on the size of the fruit).
2. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the kumquats, and boil them for three minutes. If they are still very bitter, repeat the boiling process with fresh water. Soak the boiled kumquats in cold water for 5 minutes and then drain them.
3. Lightly squeeze open the fruit by pinching it open between your thumb and forefingers and use a bamboo skewer to remove the seeds.
4. Bring the 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil and stir in the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, stir in the freshly grated ginger and the kumquats. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, occasionally skimming off the white scum that collects on the surface. Continue to simmer until the fruit is shiny and glassy and the syrup has simmered down until it barely covers the fruit. Transfer the fruit and syrup to a glass jar and store it in the refrigerator. In a tightly sealed container, the candied kumquats will keep for about 6 months in the refrigerator.
Slicing them open to reveal the seedy innards.
Saving the seeds for producing pectin.
Preparing the candying process – water, sugar and sliced kinkan.
After about half and hour, the syrup is reduced to almost half of its initial volume and developed a much thicker consistency. I did notconsolidate the seeds a muslin cloth but instead added them directly into the kumquats. They look kinda pretty yeah, little pistachio greens dotty the exuburant golden concoction.
I think they would go really well with vanilla ice-cream or some sorbet, especially when the weather’s been kinda harsh these few days with the temperatures working their way up!
As for me, these candied kinkans, together with the blood orange confiture, are the precursors to an upcoming project! Stay tuned to know how they are used together!