Sunday, June 17, 2007

Candied Buddha's Fingers

Rachel from Rachel's Bite is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and I've opted for something a little unusual.

buddhas's hand© by haalo


Some might be wondering what on earth I've found this time...

buddhas's hand© by haalo


and others will know exactly what this is - it has various names - Fingered Citron, Gobin Fingers, Buddha's hand and Buddha's Fingers...

buddhas's hand© by haalo


This is a citrus fruit that originates from north-eastern India - it's exceptionally fragrant and can be used much like potpourri to perfume rooms. The aroma is a bit like a lemon though not quite as sharp and I must admit it's extremely pleasant and does a great job in scenting the air.

Unlike other citrus, the pith is not bitter and it's most popular culinary use is to be candied, which is exactly what I'll be doing.

Candied Buddha's Fingers© by haalo

Candied Buddha's Fingers

1 Buddha's Hand
2 cups water
2 cups sugar


When selecting a Buddha's Hand avoid those that have limp fingers or feel soft - some hands will be open, others will be closed, that doesn't effect the product. Be sure to smell them, they should be intensely fragrant. The rind should also be a vibrant yellow.

This one had a lot of fingers - so I first removed the internal ones. I then cut the end off where it would attach to the tree and just followed the lines of the external fingers to remove them, to give me nice long segments. Remember that the pith is not bitter so don't cut that away.

inside Buddha's Fingers© by haalo


This photo shows you the inside of one of the fingers - as you can see, there's no flesh it's just pith.

sliced Buddha's Fingers© by haalo


Once all the fingers are prepared - boil them in plain water for a few minutes to start the softening process and remove impurities from the surface.

In a heavy based saucepan, place the water and sugar over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the drained Buddha's fingers and let them simmer for a couple of hours until they are translucent - stirring occasionally.

You can then remove the fingers from the syrup and allow them to dry on a wire rack. I've decided to keep both the syrup and fingers and store them in a preserving jar.

Candied Buddha's Fingers© by haalo


Once you've made your candied fingers what can you do with them? Use them in place of lemon rind - chopped finely add them to cakes and cookies, sweet breads, ice-cream, mousse, cream fillings just for starters. The syrup when heated can also be used as a glaze on tarts.

18 comments:

  1. What a great find Haalo! I haven't seen this for ages... And what a wonderful end product you have made - these candied finger must be excellent in cakes, pastries and desserts!

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  2. Haalo, such an interesting post. Thanks for all the info. Now, I can try something new.

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  3. I applaud your choice of produce this week and the end product looks superb!

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  4. Thanks Anh - now I'll have to make something with them

    Thanks Nora!

    They certainly are Squishy.

    Thanks Truffle - I couldn't resist it when I saw it.

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  5. Where on earth did you find these, Haalo? Not only have I never seen them before but I'm ashamed to admit I've never even heard of them. They have no flesh at all? Are you taking the pith?! (sorry, couldn't resist lol). Ever tried candied grapefruit zest? It's amazing.

    Great post!

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  6. My sister bought this a few months ago. We didn't know what to do with it, except we were fascinated by its appearance. I took some pics of it but that's as far as it got. If I see it again, thanks to your recipe, now I'll know what to do with it. ;-)

    Paz

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  7. Wow! I'm from India, though not from the North-East, but I've never come across this vegetable. It looks like huge claws but you've converted it into a beauty!

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  8. Aren't they beautiful. I bought one of these last year, just because I was intrigued and they smelled so gorgeous. I ended up adding thin slices to some of my cooking instead of lemon juice - but this is a much more satisfactory way of using. Candied fingers!

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  9. Hi Trig - I found this one at the local market though I must say I haven't seen them very often. In this one I couldn't make out any discernible flesh - when i cut the end off it was all pith - I did taste it and while it didn't have much of a taste, it wasn't bitter at all. I haven't tried candied grapefruit as yet but I will have to do something about that.

    Thanks Paz - you can just grate the skin and use it in place of lemon zest if you don't want to candy it.

    Hi Sra - I read that it's also used as an offering in temples and they try to choose ones that have a closed hand so it looks more like Buddha praying.

    Thanks Kathryn - they do just smell divine it almost seems a pity to use them.

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  10. That is something I have never seen in my entire life, Haalo! :)
    I'm always learning things from you.

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  11. Thanks Patricia - it is an odd looking thing but hopefully you'll see it available one day.

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  12. I'm fascinated by these fruit - I've only ever seen them on blogs though. Clearly not something our local supermarket stocks, ha ha ha! The picture of the single piece of candied peel is astonishignly beautiful and the recipe sounds glorious. Thanks!

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  13. Thanks Jeanne - They are certainly fruit that if you see them you need to buy them straight away because they just won't be there the next time. This week there were none at the market.

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  14. beautiful photography.

    for some reason i used to think they were inedible, but those candied fingers of yours look edible to me!

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  15. Thanks Anna - they are definitely edible!

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  16. I got one as a present for xmas,fantastic! Iused slices in gin to make a cocktail...delicious.

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  17. I just got a huge one (4lbs!) and this is a great idea! How long do you think the syrup/fingers will keep in the jar? Will you refridgerate it? I wonder if it would be possible to can it...

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