Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Adding yet another new food... this time it was Persimmons!

Have you ever eaten one of these?

Chinese Chicken and Persimmon Lettuce WrapsWe've never tried them, until tonight that is! This is a Fuyu persimmon - there seems to be two common types, this one is round and looks more like a tomato. It is firm when ripe and is non-astringent, unlike the Hachiya version, which is more heart-shaped and needs to be quite soft to use. The Hachiya has high levels of tannins that are slowly removed as it ripens making it viable to eat (and actually enjoy!). A quick tip - if you do want to use a Hachiya in a recipe that calls for one, but yours is not quite ripe enough, you can freeze the fruit until solid. Then, just thaw the persimmon and when it is soft, it will be sweeter and less astringent.

Let's get back to the lovely Fuyu's - we used a couple of them tonight to make these Chinese Chicken and Persimmon Lettuce Wraps. Lean ground chicken is browned and crumbled along with a couple teaspoons of cornstarch and minced green onions. The sweet chunks of the Fuyu are added, along with crisp water chestnuts, fresh ginger, soy sauce, orange juice and a shot of oyster sauce. We've used oyster sauce in the past, but I made the mistake of letting Jeff see me add it when I was making this! His first comment was "Ugh, why are you putting liquid oysters in our dinner??!". I think he was afraid it was going to add a strong fishy taste, but once I let him know what it was, that this was not the first time I used it and assured him it just added a good depth, he begrudgingly changed his tune and said he would at least try it.

Chinese Chicken and Persimmon Lettuce WrapsTo keep the dish somewhat light, we served the mixture piled onto tender Boston lettuce leaves and rolled them up like a wrap - you could use a regular tortilla if you wanted, but this way the full flavor of the filling was able to shine through. The chunky persimmons softened slightly, but still had a nice texture to them - they brought a sweet element that played off the saltiness in the soy and oyster sauces. If you use a little smaller lettuce leaf, we thought that these would be great as a one or two bite appetizer as well!

Chinese Chicken and Persimmon Lettuce Wraps


  1. I like persimmons a lot!
    In Brazil the soft, heart-shaped variety is more common, and what I grew up eating. Here in the US seems the fuyu is the one I find more often and easily during this time of the year.
    My 5-year old tried some last week and loved it too, he now keeps saying that persimmons and strawberries are his most favorite fruits!!
    They are yummy, aren't they?!!!

  2. "astringent" is definitely the right word for an unripe hachiya (blech!)! but persimmons, when ripe are SO wonderful. i'm glad you discovered them. :)

  3. I like persimmons also. What a great idea to serve it in a salad. I don't have much time to cook these days, as I am flying to Quebec in two days. But once I'm back I'll start making your nice recipes again. Never had a fail so far.

  4. I've never eaten persimmons.

  5. Yummm--I LOVE persimmons! Where did you find yours? Their very short season is just about over, and the Asian grocery store in Minneapolis where I have been getting mine are all out for the season--I was so disappointed when I went last week to get some! have me craving persimmons!


  6. Ana - They sure are... now we just need to keep trying them before the season is gone!

    Christine - We are too!

    Helene - Thank you!

    Cynthia - You should at least try them!

    Courtney - I found them at SuperTarget of all places!

  7. I haven't worked with persimmons in ages, though I've done a simple persimmon pudding recipe with them that makes them the background for (essentially) pumpkin pie spices. A rich dessert.

    And my new favourite word? Bletted? That describes fruit or vegetables that benefit from or need a freeze before harvesting.

  8. Peter - Oh... I love new words! I'll have to find a way to work that in sometime this week and see how people react. Hee hee!

  9. Joe
    Thanks for letting me know! I will have to check SuperTarget...I never would have thought to look there!

    I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and are enjoying the holiday season!


  10. Courtney - We are enjoying it, thank you!