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Kinkan no Kanroni & Kinkan Daifuku

Kumquats are tiny tart little citrus fruits which pack a lot of punch when it comes to flavour and nutrition, having high amounts of dietary fibre, Vitamin C and vitamin A.

Known as kinkan in Japan they are eaten whole skin and all throughout winter and enjoyed as an auspicious food over new year. Kinkan has a symbolic meaning that involves wordplay. Kinkan (金柑“kumquat”) is a homonym of kinkan (金冠), or “golden crown.” So it is thought that eating kinkan will bring you wealth. “Homonym is a word with identical pronunciations but different spelling”.

As well as eating kinkan raw it is popular to candy the fruits in syrup this is known as kinkan no kanroni 金柑の甘露煮. Which are popular all over Japan.

To make these you will need:

x1 cup of washed kumquats/kinkan

x6 tablespoons of sugar

x1 cinnamon stick

x2 cardamom pods

x2 cloves

100ml of water (after simmering the first three times)

Method:

First wash and take out the little pip at one end of the fruit, then with a tooth pick pierce each fruit twice on opposite sides.

Place the fruit in a pan with just enough cold water to cover them.

Bring the water to a simmer and boil for 2 minutes and then drain the water. Do this again for another two times making it x3 in total.

Then add the 100ml of water, sugar, cinnamon and cloves to a pan and stir on a low heat to dissolve the sugar, add the fruit and turn up the heat to a boil then turn down to low and simmer for 30 minutes. After this time discard the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom pods and add your fruit to a sterilised jar.

These delightful citrus candies can be used chopped on yogurt or ice cream and the syrup drizzled over. To use as a cold remedy add one candied kumquat to a mug with a teaspoon of the syrup, a little ginger and top up with hot water.

The fruit also lends itself well to adding to baked goods like cookies and muffins. I decided to make a perfect wagashi treat to serve with Japanese tea.

Kinkan Daifuku(金柑大福)

Whole kinkan wrapped with sweet red bean paste and soft mochi rice cake.

Ingredients: makes x4 daifuku

x30g Shiratamako glutinous rice flour

x30g Joshinko fine rice flour

x50g sugar

41/2 tablespoons of cold water

x30g sweet red bean paste

Potato starch for dusting

Method:

Mix the Shiratamako flour and water stirring well to combine, then add the Joshinko flour and sugar and mix well to a paste.

Take a metal pancake ring and add this to a steamer basket over boiling water. Place inside the pancake ring some muslin cloth and pour in your mixture. Put the lid on the steamer and steam for 15 minutes.

While that’s steaming take your bean paste and roll into four balls. Flatten the balls and add a single candied kumquat inside each ball. Fold the bean paste over the kumquat and roll back into a ball.

When your mochi is ready scatter some potato starch on a work surface and tip out your mochi.

When it’s cooled a little flatten it out and cut into four pieces. Take each piece and stretch it out then add a single kumquat covered in bean paste to the middle then fold over the mochi into a ball.

Finish with a dusting of potato starch.

Perfect enjoyed for a Japanese teatime.