Winter in Japan means mikan season! Thanks to Courtney for a mouth-watering recipe this month. I’m off to the kitchen!
“Everyone is getting sick,” said my Japanese coworker. “You should eat a mikan.”
He hands me this small orange then promptly shows me how to dig your thumb into the top center and begin peeling back the loosely-attached outer skin. The segments break apart easily, making it a delicious solution to getting more Vitamin C during these cold winter months. It’s the perfect sweet remedy to colds and sickness common during the wintertime.
Mikans are commonly known as clementines or tangerines in the West. They are delicious, easy-to-peel seedless oranges. Mikans are in season during the winter and overtake the fruit section of any Japanese grocery store. These quick and easy treats can be enjoyed by the casual tourist as much as the local. Buy a bag and dig into the sweet fruit. It’s the perfect snack.
I’ve found that mikans substitute well in almost any western dish that calls for oranges. I’ve used mikans in everything from Andalucian orange almond cake to a Thanksgiving relish!
Here is one of my favorite east-meets-west mash-ups. A family recipe with a Japanese twist!
Fresh Mikan (or Orange) Cookies
These cookies are a family recipe but I’ve tweaked them for life in Japan and make them with mikans!
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 cup dairy sour cream
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mikan (orange) juice
3 tablespoons grated mikan (orange) peel
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice
Heat oven to 350° F. In large bowl, cream sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and eggs; blend well.
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, orange juice and orange peel; mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Remove from cookies sheets immediately.
In small bowl, combine all frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Frost warm cookies.
Makes approximately 6 dozen cookies.
Mikan jelly from Just One Cookbook
Mikans are so sweet naturally lending themselves to dessert dishes. Just One Cookbook has the perfect solution for an after-dinner treat.
Pomegranate Orange Relish with Walnuts from NY Times
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes! I may it for Thanksgiving each year as a different relish but it seems to find its way on my plate throughout the year. I always substitute mikans for oranges while in Japan. They add the right bit of sweetness to the relish.