Ingredient 13 – Chinese red dates

(Bonus best before December 2009 date shot)

I have to confess straightaway that this one is cheating slightly on my theme. Actually, I don’t, because you’d never know, but I’m an honest soul. I have used these just once before, a very long time ago, but I felt like they still fitted in with my theme because I’ve had them cluttering up the cupboard and I had no idea what to do with them. Last time I made Lo Han Jai (Buddha’s Delight) but I didn’t enjoy it enough to make it again but never found another way to use them. There’ll be another cheat ingredient from that dish coming up later in the month too.

I had planned to make a vegan version of this dish using chicken flavoured seitan, but I wasn’t feeling very well and MoFo madness was taking its toll a bit. I searched the internet to see how else I might use them and found that like many other Chinese ingredients they are considered to have many health benefits and are often used as part of tea or soup. Perfect. I Poured a mug full of boiling water over 6 dried red dates, a couple of small chunks of ginger and a sprinkle of brown sugar. I let it steep for a while and prodded the dates a few times to get the flavour out.

This was a very nice simple drink and while I can’t say that my health improved dramatically it did seem to soothe my throat a touch. I still intend to make the chicken style dish too so I’ll update the blog with info when I do.

Have you used Chinese dates? What did you use them for?

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