Taiwanese hakka style cumquat sauce (客家金桔醬)

I love exploring Hakka food in Taiwan.  Since the Hakka are hardworking, and often lived in poorer rural areas, many of their recipes are ‘peasant food’ making the most of local and cheap ingredients.  Hakka cuisine was once overlooked as being overly fatty and salty, but there is now a resurgence in Hakka cuisine with annual cooking competitions that aim to make the food more accessible (and healthy).  And gradually there more and more Hakka restaurants are also opening in Taiwan.

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I especially like Hakka kumquat (cumquat) sauce (kejia jinjijiang, 客家金桔醬), traditionally served with slices of Hakka style white boiled chicken (ban zhan ji – 白斬雞) . I have never eaten anything like it in other Chinese dishes.  The pairing of citrus with poultry goes well together, so this is a natural fit.

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Although I have eaten this sauce many times in Taiwan, often accompanied with goose slices, I struggled to find a recipe in English.  And the Chinese language recipes varied, as well.  I guess this reflects the simple, homely nature of this sauce.  Many Hakka mothers probably think it is too simple to write down. In the end I liked the look of a Chinese language recipe by writer and blogger Carol, which I tried, liked and modified slightly.

Fusion: leftover roast chicken made into a salad lunch with Hakka cumquat sauce

Fusion: leftover roast chicken made into a salad lunch with Hakka cumquat sauce

Given the small size of cumquats, this is a fiddly recipe to make.  But it was worth it because I really loved the bright sunshine colour and tart taste of the sauce.  If you have a friend who wants to give away some cumquats, accept with gratitude and make this sauce!  I added some additional orange juice because my cumquats were small and not at all fleshy; skip this if yours are juicy enough.

cumquat sauce

Cumquat sauce served drizzled with soy sauce

Ingredients

250g cumquats
1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons orange juice

Method

  1. Peel the cumquats, placing the peel into a saucepan.  De-seed thecumquat flesh, and place in a separate bowl.P1100726
  2. Cover thecumquat peel with water, bring the saucepan to the boil and cook for around 10 minutes (more or less depending on the thickness and age of the peel).P1100730
  3. Drain the cumquat peel, cover with cold water and allow to soak for 2-3 hours to remove any additional bitterness.
  4. Place the peel and the cumquat fruit into a food processor or blender, and pulverize for around three minutes.
  5. Pour the cumquat mixture into a saucepan, add the sugar, salt and orange juice (if used).  Bring to a boil, and continue to cook while stirring for around ten minutes.  Spoon into sterilised jars and seal.
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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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4 Responses to Taiwanese hakka style cumquat sauce (客家金桔醬)

  1. lizzygoodthings says:

    What an interesting recipe, Serina! Sounds quite divine.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Thank you. Yes, it is quite yummy and like a lot of Hakka food, not so popular or well understood.

  2. Taipeir says:

    I eat this all the time at my In laws. I also eat lots of other famous stuff like the ban Tiao and zhu jiao and the fried squid pork dish which is pretty awesome.

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