This week many East and Southeast Asian countries that follow the Lunar Calendar are celebrating their new year. Because of this, I wanted to be able to share with you a very special and simple recipe often reserved for special occasions like this one. (I could go more into it, but @callmekaren recently made a really great card on the foods and flavors of the Traditional Korean New Year too. Read about it over here!)
Sujeonggwa (pronounced soo-jung-gwah) has been translated into a bunch of different English language names. Some call it 'cinnamon tea' while others call it 'persimmon punch'. It is a warm drink made with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and dried persimmon.
Persimmons aren't necessarily common here in North America, so if you're trying a persimmon for the first time, it might look a little bit like a tomato, but it actually tastes almost like a plum. It's really good! You can find dried persimmons at an Asian supermarket, but I have also seen them in the frozen section of Trader Joe's from time to time. They're integral to the recipe, so make sure you find some!
(Also, if you want to try another special Korean New Year recipe, check out my card for Sanjeok, skewered savory pancakes often enjoyed at special celebrations.)
Sujeonggwa, Korean Persimmon Punch
(Makes 4 cups)
8 cups water
1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
8 cinnamon sticks, rinsed
1 cup sugar
4 dried persimmons, stems removed
Pine nuts, for garnish
1) Place water, ginger, and cinnamon sticks in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover pot, lower heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Discard ginger and cinnamon sticks.
2) Add sugar, stir to dissolve, and simmer for 10 minutes.
3) Strain liquid into a pitcher or bowl and add the persimmons. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least two hours and up to a couple of days.
4) To serve, pour into cups or bowls and garnish with pine nuts. The softened persimmons may also be added whole or sliced.