The Bay Area abounds with persimmons in the fall, and there are plenty of ways to deploy the fruit in your cooking. If you’re looking for something to make with the Fuyu persimmons — the squat, miniature pumpkin-esque fruits, not to be confused with the Hachiya persimmons, which can be transformed into hoshigaki — chef SiewChinn Chin of Ramen Shop has a recipe for a fresh, persimmon kimchi-style dish worthy of adding to any meal. “There’s so much potential with this little fruit,” Chin says.
Fuyu Persimmon Kimchi Recipe (vegan)
By SiewChinn Chin
2 pounds of ripe, firm fuyu persimmon (about 6 to 7 medium-sized fruit)
1 bunch, scallions
2 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, or Japanese sea salt
2 red jalapenos
1-inch piece of ginger, julienned
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (Note: Do not smash the cloves, as this will make the dish overly garlic-y, Chin notes)
For the kimchi paste:
1 persimmon, stemmed and peeled
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon shiitake mushroom powder
2 tablespoons gochugaru, or Korean chile flakes
Blender or mortar and pestle, for making the paste
Step 1: Wash the persimmons, then remove the stems and sepals from the fruit using a sharp paring knife.
Step 2: Peel the persimmons and slice the fruit into 1/4-inch wedges. One optional step is to remove the thin, white center of the persimmon after quartering the fruit, prior to slicing it into wedges. Place wedges in a mixing bowl.
Step 3: Sprinkle salt over the fruit, and gently toss with your hands to evenly distribute it. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Wash and thinly julienne the scallions to 1-inch lengths. Set aside.
Step 5: De-stem and de-seed the jalapeños. Thinly julienne to 1-inch lengths. Set aside.
For the kimchi paste:
Step 6: Place all the kimchi paste ingredients in a blender and pulverize until a thick paste forms. Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a blender, the ingredients can be pounded together in with mortar and pestle.
Step 7: By this time, the salted persimmons in the mixing bowl should be glossy, as the salt draws moisture out of the fruit. Mix all the julienned ingredients with the salted persimmon slices. Add the paste and gently rub it into the persimmon slice mixture. Taste and season more, if preferred.
Step 8: Set aside and rest for 20 minutes or so, then serve.
The persimmon kimchi should be refrigerated and will last up to a week. As the kimchi ages, the fruit will become less crunchy and more pickled.
Chin recommends serving the kimchi as a condiment with a bowl of hot rice, or as a side dish with fried fish, such as mackerel or snapper. The persimmon kimchi can also be eaten as a pickle to accompany donburi or bibimbap.