Did you ever know that red dates are also known as jujube or ziziphus jujuba? It kind of reminds me of the gibberish phrase ‘zzi zzi pong‘ from a Korean drama that I watched recently, but that’s something else altogether.
Red dates are commonly used by the East, South and South East Asian populations as a main ingredient to brew soups and drinks, as well as a side ingredient in desserts and cakes. As a fruit of the jujube plant, red dates are very sweet and contain loads of vitamin C, supposedly more than that of an average-sized apple. In addition, the longer dates are left to mature, the sweeter they become; that is the reason why preserved dates taste so much softer and more saccharine, compared to the fresh ones.
Many people around me have been feeling under the weather recently, so it seems like just the right time to prepare this drink in order to curb the impending flu and cough bugs. The guy offered to make this drink using the traditional yet simple method that he learnt from his family. ‘The Hokkien way‘, he said. And so it shall be.
- Big red dates (pitted): 300g, washed and toweled dry
- Water: 3 liters
- Rock sugar: 200g
- Add red dates to water. Bring water to a boil.
- After water boils, reduce to low heat.
- Continue simmering on low heat for 1.5 hrs, till dates start to break up and broth starts to sweeten.
- Add sugar and continue simmering for 5 min. Add more (or less) sugar as desired.
- Leave to cool for 15 min before serving.
- Alternatively, chill in fridge for a refreshing and cool drink on a hot summer day.
- Tweak the taste of the drink with additional ingredients like dried longans and wolfberries to add a range of flavours to the drink.
- This drink is commonly served during wedding tea ceremonies and festive occasions as well as brewed for mums with new borns to recuperate during their post-natal confinement.
- I used palm rock sugar, which is a bit yellowish in colour, to boil the drink, rendering it a little darker in appearance. If you would like to have a clearer broth, stick to using the crystal white rock sugar.
About 2.5 liters, including dates