Although I’d drunk persimmon leaf tea a couple of years ago on a visit to Seoul, I’d never actually seen a persimmon till last month. All I knew was that they were some kind of fruit. While ambling through Crawford Market I noticed these odd shaped fruit which clearly had just come into season. I asked one of the vendors who was stocking just persimmon what they were and not only did he explain what they were but he informed me that they came from Kashmir and that the Hindi name is Amarphal. After biting into a slice that I was offered to taste I was hooked and bought a kilo for, I think, more than I ought to have paid.
The inside of the Persimmon is bright papaya orange, but the honey-sweet flesh has a texture that’s somewhere between a chickoo and over-ripe mango: almost jelly-like. However, persimmons have to be eaten when they’re completely ripe otherwise the sweet flesh can be awfully astringent leaving a ghastly chalky after-taste in the mouth.
What I really liked about this salad is how nicely the bitterness of the endive and spinach are balanced by the sweetness of the persimmon. As you toss the salad, some of the persimmon gets crushed and coats the leaves, acting like a dressing.
3 chicken malai tikka pieces (or 1 piece per person)
½ curly endive (about 1½ cups)
½ cup spinach leaves
1 onion, cut into rings
For the dressing
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp orange juice
¼ tsp grated ginger
¼ tsp chopped garlic
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
salt and pepper
Mix all the dressing ingredients till combined. Keep aside for the flavours to infuse together.
Peel the persimmon and dice into bits. Roughly chop the curly endive. Cut the larger spinach leaves through the centre into two and then roughly chop.
Toss the vegetables and persimmon and keep in the fridge to chill.
Just before serving, whisk the dressing again. Drizzle lightly over the salad or serve on the side.
Slice the chicken tikka pieces and arrange over the salad.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes