This year, I was very successful in growing a large batch of thai chilis. As I was shopping at my local asian market for things to cook with my thai chilis, I noticed that every person checking out had the same thing in their basket: a bag of fresh persimmons.
I grabbed a bag of fresh persimmons, inspired to make a persimmon shrub. These persimmons are from California, but persimmons actually grow in the Pacific Northwest too. There is a beautiful one in Issaquah at the Gilman Village, if you want to find one "in the wild".
Persimmons have a sweet delicate honey type flavor to them. There are two main types of persimmons, Fuyu and Hachiya. I used Fuyu, which have good flavor even when they are firm.
The final ingredient that I was inspired to use for this shrub was a lime leaf. Lime leaves are used heavily in Thai cooking and add a beautiful aroma, complexity and citrus smell to the shrub.
So first, I cut up the persimmons and used the sugar maceration technique. I added 2 cups of sugar, the lime leaf and two of the thai chili peppers. I let this sit in a bowl for an hour to get the juices going.
After about an hour, I put 2 cups of champagne vinegar in a pot and added the sugar macerated persimmon/thai chili/lime leaf combo. I turned on the stove to medium heat, and cooked it for about 10 minutes. My main goal was to get the sugar to combine with the vinegar.
After the sugar was combined, I still wasn't totally happy with the persimmon flavor, so I put it all in a sealable jar and let it sit for a few days in the fridge.
After a few days, I tried it and was happy with the flavor profile. I could have left it in longer, but didn't want to wait any longer to make something delicious out of it.
3 - 4 Fuyu Persimmons, de-stemmed and cut into 1" peices
1-3 thai chili peppers (or jalepeno peppers) sliced
3 Lime leaves torn
2 cups sugar
2 cups light vinegar (white, white wine, champagne, unsweetened rice)
In a bowl, place the chopped persimmons, thai chili peppers and lime leaves. Cover with the sugar and combine. Cover and let sit 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until a nice syrup has puddled under the persimmons. Taste the syrup to test for spiciness. If it is a nice level of spice, you may want to remove as many of the chili peppers as possible. If it is not spicy enough, keep them in the mixture.
In a medium saucepan, place all of the ingredients from the bowl and the vinegar. Cook under medium heat until lightly boiling. Turn down to low, and simmer for another 5 minutes. You want to make the sugar become syrup.
Put all of the ingredients from the saucepan into a sterilized sealable quart jar. Seal and store in the fridge for 3 days - 1 week to let the persimmon flavor emerge.
Strain. Can be stored in a glass container in the fridge for 6 months.
Last year, my husband and I spent some time on Koh Lanta. Panang curry, grilled chicken with sticky rice, papaya salad are some of the amazing flavors that I still strive for today in my home kitchen. This recipe is designed with those flavors in mind.
1.5 oz - Vodka or Gin
1 oz - Thai Persimmon Shrub
2 oz - Soda water
Dash of citrus (lemon, grapefruit or orange) bitters
Lime leaf/thai chili garnish
In a mixing tin, combine the tequila and thai persimmon shrub. Strain into rocks or highball glass. Fill glass with crushed ice and fill with soda water. Tear lime leaf and place on rim. If more heat desired, add slices of thai chili.