Buddha Hand Citrus
Buddha Hand Citrus
Buddha Hand is a fragrant citron whose fruit is shaped into finger-like sections. It is also known as Fingered Citron or Bushukan in Japan.
They grow on small evergreen trees with long branches covered in thorns. Its leaves are large and pale green and grow up to six inches, while the tree itself grows from three to five feet. The flowers on it are white and have a purplish tint and grow in clusters. It has a thick peel and only a small amount of flesh. It is juiceless and sometimes seedless yet very fragrant.
Buddha Hand Citrus is used mainly by the Chinese and Japanese for perfuming rooms and also used during New Years for it is believed to give good fortune to a household. The peel can also be candied into succade. In Western cooking, it is often used for its zest. The inner pith is not bitter as with other citruses, so the “fingers” may be cut off and then sliced long ways and used in salads or scattered over cooked foods such as fish.
Scholars believe that sometime after the fourth century, Buddhist monks carried the Buddha Hand from India to China. The fruit may be given as a religious offering in Buddhist temples. According to tradition, Buddha prefers the “fingers” of the fruit to be in a position where they resemble a closed rather than open hand, as closed hands symbolize to Buddha the act of prayer.
Chicken Rolls Steamed in Lotus Leaf
1 Small finger of Buddha’s hand fruit, minced fine
1-2 Tablespoons Smithfield ham
2-4 Shiitake mushrooms, soaked for twenty minutes
2 Lotus leaves, each cut into four pieces
1 Teaspoon corn oil
1 Scallion, minced fine
1 Teaspoon ginger root, minced fine
1 Tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1. Cut chicken, ham, and mushrooms into thin strips and put in a bowl,tossing them to distribute well.
Mix in the minced Buddha’s hand pieces.
2. Use half of the oil to brush the inside and outside surfaces of each leaf.
3 Mix the rest of the oil, scallion, ginger root, wine, and cornstarch well, then mix thoroughly with the chicken mixture.
4. Put one eighth of the mixture on each lotus leaf section and roll putting the sealed end down on a plate.
5. Steam, on the plate, over boiling water for 15 minutes, then move to a serving plate, garnish as desired, and serve.