I was so happy when I saw Taiwan-made Korean soju selling for NT$100 (US$3) a bottle in Taipei. A bottle of soju easily costs 2-3 times more back home. I’m not a big fan of soju on the rocks though, so I mix the soju with 100% pure pomegranate juice to make pomegranate soju (석류소주/石榴燒酒).
The pomegranate soju is naturally sweetened, packed with antioxidants and looks pretty in red. The auspicious symbolism of pomegranate and the beautiful red also makes this a perfect drink for Chinese New Year.
Cooking from Taipei:
And this is also my most unforgettable kitchen memory in Taipei. Since I don’t have a pestle (I don’t think many people pack a pestle when they go overseas ^o^), I used the top of a large carrot to pound the seeds to extract pure pom juice. Imagine making pom juice in a tiny kitchen of a studio apartment at a foreign country using a large carrot. A little sad, very comical … but this set-up really works ;)
For best results, it’s essential to use pomegranate with seeds of a blood red colour (pictured above), not the ones with pale pink seeds. They are the Taiwan, US and Korean varieties. I bought two pomegranates for NT$90 (US$3) at a local morning market. In Singapore, you can find the red pom seeds imports from US (usually available seasonally at Giant or Sheng Siong) selling for about S$2.95 per pom during sale.
The pom juice made with the right variety is so sweet that there is no need for any sweetener (NO sugar, honey or maple syrup) which to me, ruins the pureness and health benefits of the juice. It also comes in an attractive maroon red.