I had some friends over who had a major craving for Korean food. We had a lovely Korean BBQ pork and wagyu beef on my hot grill and to finish off the dinner, I served a traditional Korean tea called Su Jung Gwa (수정과). I normally cook a western dessert when I have dinner parties but this time I decided to give this dish a go as I always thought this tea seemed hard to make. The good thing about this is you can make it in advance so you have more time to prepare other dishes on the day of the party.
Su Jung Gwa is made with cinnamon and ginger and served with dried persimmon (곶감). If you are lucky, some restaurants will serve this tea at the end of your meal only without the dried persimmon(too expensive). Depending on the season it can be served hot or cold. My mum gave me a bag of dried persimmon when I was in Korea and it’s been sitting in the fridge for a month. It’s too dry to eat so it was perfect for my Su Jung Gwa.
Just a quick note on dried persimmon for those of you have never seen or tasted. As you can see in the picture below, it’s not easily recognizable. I also always thought the fruit is just air dried but the skin of the fruit has actually been peeled before being air dried for a least a couple of weeks. Persimmons are in season in Autumn in Korea. In order to enjoy the fruit for throughout winter we dry them in this manner. I also prefer the dried ones instead of fresh because they are sweeter.
I am tempted to dry the persimmon and make them myself but according to my research, it might be too humid in this Singapore weather.
Well, this is a dish I have never even tempted to make as the flavor seems so complex but believe it or not, this is the easiest Korean dessert ever!
How to make Su Jung Gwa:
Ingredients – 12 cups of water, 50g cinnamon sticks, 50g fresh ginger, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of honey, dried persimmon and some pine nuts
- Wash and clean the cinnamon sticks and ginger.
- Peel the skin of the ginger and slice them thinly.
- Add 6 cups of water with the cinnamon sticks in a pot and boil on a high heat for 10 minutes and then reduce to low for another 20 minutes
- Repeat for ginger
- Strain both ginger and cinnamon separately
- Mix the strained water in a pot. Add the sugar and honey and boil on a high heat for another 5 minutes before letting it cool down
- While the tea is cooling down, cut the dried persimmon into bite sizes and soak them in the tea over night in the fridge
- Serve the tea in a cup or bowl with the dried persimmon and garnish with a few pine nuts