7 easy-to-make but delicious dried jujube fruit recipes (also known as Chinese red date recipes), including soups, drinks and desserts.
What are Jujubes?
Jujubes or Chinese red dates, also known as Ziziphus jujuba (scientific name) and hong zao, belong to the Rhamnaceae buckthorn family.
They are a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ingredient that is also commonly used in Chinese and Korean cooking, and can be eaten fresh or dried.
Most Asian families will have a store of dried Chinese red dates in their pantry to cook with, as they can last for quite some time in this form. (As dried jujubes are more common, the recipes here all use them instead of fresh.)
Note: Jujube is not to be confused with jojoba, which is entirely different!
Jujube fruits have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, but more research is still needed. What we do know at the moment is that:
- Jujubes have "anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-hyperglycemic, immunoregulatory, neuroprotective, sedative, and antiviral functions."
- Jujubes have a lot of anti-oxidants, such as flavonoids. These help to delay or prevent cell damage from free radicals.
- These antioxidants may even help one sleep better!
- Thanks to its high fibre content, jujube can aid digestion and constipation.
- It is rich in Vitamin C, and may thus help your immune system.
Where to Buy
In Asia, you can get them at most major supermarkets.
Chinese people have traditionally removed the seed before cooking jujubes, as they believe that the seed makes the dish heatier (i.e. you will be prone to getting sore throats, fevers or acne if you eat too much). However, it is possible to cook with the whole fruit (i.e. seed inside)- just remember to remove the seed before you eat the fruit.
Other Traditional Chinese recipes
Dried jujubes, as well as goji berries, are often added to Cantonese soups as a natural sweetener and for their health benefits, which I've described in this jujube tea post. It is also used in other Asian recipes, such as the famous Korean ginseng chicken soup.
Besides this black chicken soup, you can add a couple of red dates to most soups or even rice porridge that you make- simply wash them, then remove the seed and either slice them up, or make a few gashes in the flesh to increase the surface area when cooking so that the flavour can better permeate the soup.
Chinese red date tea is a healthy and warming tea with no caffeine. For more traditional Asian teas without caffeine, you can try:
For other Chinese New Year recipes, click here.
Which is your favourite out of all these Chinese dried jujube fruit recipes?