Zesty Lemon Kuzu is a refreshing treat after a meal. It brings the body into balance after indulging in fried, baked, roasted, or heavy foods.
In traditional Chinese cooking, food is medicine. Each meal my mom cooked was balanced in its yin and yang properties. She called a food either cool (yin) or hot (yang). If we over-indulged in a particular food, she would cook a food with an opposite effect to balance our systems to keep us well.
The yin and yang of food can refer to the balance of flavors, colors, texture, the properties of the food itself, or how the food has been cooked. Mom prepared cooling soups, which required boiling to balance a meal that had something fried, baked, or roasted.
My mom often used kuzu, a powder extracted from the kuzu root, the focal point of the kuzu plant’s energy. She used kuzu as another remedy to balance our yang bodies and as a thickener instead of corn starch to make sauces and gravies. When any family member had an upset stomach, she made a sweetened, warm beverage of kuzu for the ailing family member to drink.
I was reintroduced to kuzu while I was following a macrobiotic diet, a diet that focuses on eating local, seasonal, whole foods-grains, legumes, sea/ fresh vegetables, fermented soy products, and some fish. Although I no longer follow a macrobiotic diet, I still use kuzu for sauces and for making desserts. One of my favorite things to do when I cooked macrobiotically was to see how many desserts I could come up with using kuzu.
Zesty Lemon Kuzu is one of my creations. It’s simple, nutritious, and quick.
Cut three thin slices of lemon for garnishing. Slice each of the three pieces in half. I cut extra slices just in case my twists for garnishing didn’t look right!
Juice three to four organic lemons for 1/2 cup of lemon juice.
Mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and sweetener-1/4 cup agave or 1/4 cup honey in a non-reactive bowl such as glass or stainless steel. Taste the mixture. Add more sweetener to taste.
In a second bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of kuzu in 4 tablespoons of cool to cold filtered water until dissolved. Add kuzu mixture to sweetened lemon juice mixture. Stir well.
Pour mixture into a saucepan. Cook the mixture on a medium flame. Keep stirring the mixture. Stir, stir, stir, stir…
The opaque mixture will turn translucent. Let it cool until slightly warm. Pour into serving bowls. Chill in the refrigerator until set.
Before serving, garnish with lemon slices, berries, and lemon zest.
Zesty Lemon Kuzu
Serves 3, 1/2 cup each (to increase the number or size of portions, add more of each ingredient)
three slices of lemon for garnishing
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/2 cup of cool to cold filtered water
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup of agave nectar or honey
2 tablespoons kuzu
4 tablespoons cold water
Mix first four ingredients together-1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup filtered water, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest (reserve 1 teaspoon of lemon zest for garnishing), and 1/4 cup of sweetener in a non-reactive bowl, such as glass or stainless steel. Taste for desired sweetness.
In another bowl mix last two ingredients-2 tablespoons of kuzu with 4 tablespoons of cold water. Make sure the water is cool to cold. It will not dissolve properly in hot water. Mix until dissolved. I use the chunks of kuzu directly from the package without grinding it into powder. You may want to grind the kuzu and then measure.
Add the kuzu mixture to the lemon mixture. Stir.
Transfer lemon kuzu mixture to a saucepan.
Cook over medium flame. Keep stirring.
Mixture will start bubbling. Keep stirring.
Mixture will turn from opaque to translucent.
Remove sauce pan from heat and let cool.
Pour into serving bowls and refrigerate until set.
Garnish with lemon slices, berries, and lemon zest.
Modifications and suggestions: protein types can top with whipped cream! If a thicker consistency is desired, dissolve 1 tablespoon of kuzu in 1 tablespoon of cold, filtered water in a bowl and slowly pour into the saucepan of cooking lemon kuzu. Continue stirring and cooking until translucent.
The sweetness was just right for my husband and me, but our daughter would have preferred it sweeter!
If you plan to use kuzu as medicine, please first consult with your doctor.
Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom