Dec 30, 2012

Li Hing Mui... "The Traveling Plum"

Dried Li Hing Mui
You can purchase this product online at this site.
Originally from China, the name "li hing mui" means "traveling plum". My guess is that it is called "traveling" because this salty dried plum is preserved, making it portable and easy to use in many recipes. It has a strong, distinctive flavor, and is often said to be an acquired taste, as it has a combination of sweet, sour, salty, tart, and even tangy taste. It was made popular in Hawaii by Yee Sheong, who in early 1900, had began importing Li hing mui and various other preserved fruits from China to Hawaii. The Li Hing Mui craze was started by Yee and flourished with the company he founded, Yick Lung. Today this brand is no longer available, but other brands can be found in Hawaiian and Asian markets, and online.

Jade brand Li Hing Mui Powder
can be purchased in grocery stores
and online at this site.
Li hing mui powder can be used as a flavoring usually sprinkled on candy and other fruits notably pineapples and apples. Recently, people have also been putting li hing powder into their alcoholic drinks—mainly tequila cocktails. Many bars in Hawaii also rim their glasses with li hing powder in addition to putting it in the drink. There's a number of brands out there, but my favorite brand of li hing mui powder is the "Jade" brand. 

Checkout this website or more information about li hing mui, and a delicious recipe for "Li Hing Mui Vinaigrette".

Li Hing Mui Recipes:

Sweet Li Hing Mui 
Pineapple Chicken
6 or 8 boneless chicken 
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks with juice
1 tablespoons Li hing mui powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons salt

black pepper to taste
Chinese parsley (cilantro), chopped, for garnish

Place the boneless chicken thighs into a large mixing bowl. With your hands, mix in the rest of the ingredients all over the chicken
. Place coated chicken on a foil wrapped baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve garnished with cilantro over seasoned rice with vegetables on the side. 

Makes 6-8 servings.

Broiled Shrimp with 
Li Hing Mui Macadamia Butter
Ingredients for butter sauce:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon li hing mui powder
1 tablespoon ground macadamia nuts
1/4 cup ground macadamia nuts for garnish

Ingredients for broiled shrimp:
24 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons parsley
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon oregano
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Make the li hing mui macadamia butter by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl, put aside. Put cleaned shrimp in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients. Toss well to coat shrimp. Place on a shallow baking sheet. Broil on high, 7 inches from heat, for about 6-7 minutes, turning once. Toss shrimp with butter sauce and sprinkle with extra macadamia nuts. Serve with rice pilaf, sliced lemons, and steamed show peas.

Makes 4 servings.

Pineapple with Li Hing Mui
1 ripe pineapple
1-2 tablespoons Li hing mui powder

Peel pineapple and cut into chunks and put in a bowl. Sprinkle li hing mui powder over pineapple. Stir well, adding li hing mui powder to taste. I like it when the pineapple is quite reddish colored. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Hawaiian Pickled Mango with Li Hing Mui
1 gallon sliced green mangoes
2 cups raw sugar
1 cup rice vinegar
4 tablespoons Hawaiian rock salt
1/4 - 1/2 pound of seedless li hing mui (15-25 or more)
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

Peel green mango with a vegetable peeler. Slice into thin strips and discard the seed. Set aside. Bring sugar, vinegar and salt to a boil. Continue boiling until sugar dissolves. Cool. Stir in li hing mui slices and pour over mango slices. Store in airtight container.

Apricot or Prune with Li Hing Mui
2 - 12 ounce packages of pitted prunes or apricots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon dark molasses
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 whole cloves
2 1/2 ounce package of seedless li hing mui

Combine all ingredients except prunes or apricots. Bring to a boil then add prunes or apricots. Cook for about 3 minutes over low flame. Store in a sterilized jar and soak for two days before eating.

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