Yakgwa is a traditional Korean sweet pastry that has been enjoyed since the Goryeo Dynasty and is still popular in South Korea today. The name “yakgwa” comes from the Korean words for “medicine” and “pastry,” as it was originally created as an offering to the gods and believed to have medicinal properties.
To make yakgwa, people mix flour, oil, honey, and rice wine into a thick batter. They then shape this batter into small bite-sized pieces that resemble either a flower or a fish called “bungeo” in Korean. These pieces are deep-fried until they turn golden brown.
Yakgwa’s history can be traced back to the city of Kaeseong during the Goryeo Dynasty. At that time, yakgwa was considered a luxury food item reserved for royalty and high-ranking officials. However, over time, it became more accessible to ordinary people.
Today, yakgwa is enjoyed all over South Korea and is often served during holidays like Chuseok and Lunar New Year. It is also commonly eaten with other traditional Korean sweets like dalgona and songpyeon.
So what does yakgwa taste like?
Well, its flavor profile can be described as sweet with hints of honey and sesame oil. The texture of yakgwa is crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, making it an enjoyable snack to munch on.
In Seoul specifically, there are many shops that specialize in selling different kinds of yakgwa. Some even offer unique flavors like green tea or chocolate coated varieties!
What is Yakgwa?
Origins and History of Yakgwa
Yakgwa is a traditional Korean sweet that has been around for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), where it was known as “yakguk”. The name “yakgwa” was later adopted during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). During this time, yakgwa was often served at royal banquets and given as gifts to high-ranking officials.
Ingredients and Preparation of Yakgwa
The main ingredients in yakgwa are wheat flour, honey, and sesame oil. These three ingredients are combined to form a dough, which is then shaped into small flower or donut shapes. The dough is then deep-fried until it becomes crispy on the outside while remaining soft and chewy on the inside.
Yakgwa vs Gwaja: What’s the Difference?
While yakgwa may look similar to another Korean sweet called gwaja, there are some key differences between the two. For one, yakgwa is typically larger in size than gwaja. Yakgwa has a more complex flavor profile due to the addition of sesame oil. Gwaja, on the other hand, is made with rice flour and tends to have a simpler taste.
How Yakgwa is Served
Yakgwa is often served during special occasions such as weddings and holidays. It can also be found in many Korean bakeries and snack shops throughout Korea. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Korean cuisine worldwide, leading to an increase in demand for traditional Korean sweets like yakgwa.
Health Benefits of Yakgwa
While yakgwa may not be the healthiest snack option out there due to its high sugar content, it does offer some nutritional benefits. Sesame oil, one of the main ingredients in yakgwa, is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Honey is a natural sweetener that contains vitamins and minerals.
What Does Yakgwa Taste Like?
The unique taste of yakgwa can be described as sweet and nutty, which comes from the combination of ingredients used in making it. Ginger juice, honey, sesame oil, and rice flour are some of the key ingredients that give yakgwa its distinct flavor.
The sweetness of yakgwa comes from the use of honey in its recipe. Honey is a natural sweetener that adds depth to the flavor profile of this Korean snack. The nuttiness, on the other hand, comes from the use of sesame oil. Sesame oil has a rich and nutty flavor that complements the sweetness of honey perfectly.
Yakgwa is often paired with soju or tea, making it an ideal snack for social gatherings or as a dessert after a meal. Soju is a popular Korean alcoholic beverage that pairs well with yakgwa due to its light and refreshing taste. Tea, on the other hand, provides a more subtle complement to the flavors of yakgwa.
Medium Texture Similar to Cookies
The texture of yakgwa is medium and dough-like, similar to a cookie or confectionery. However, its lipid oxidative properties make it different from other sweets or bread. When you take a bite into yakgwa, you’ll notice how soft and chewy it is on the inside while being slightly crispy on the outside.
The texture of yakgwa makes it an excellent snack for people who enjoy cookies or other baked goods but want something different than what they’re used to eating. Its unique texture also makes it perfect for dipping into tea or soju.
Apart from being deliciously sweet and nutty in flavor, yakgwa also offers several health benefits due to its ingredients’ nutritional value.
Ginger juice is one such ingredient used in making yakgwa that has many health benefits. Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. It’s also a natural remedy for nausea and digestive issues.
Honey is another ingredient used in yakgwa that has several health benefits. Honey is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your body from cell damage caused by free radicals. It’s also a natural energy booster and can help soothe sore throats.
Sesame oil, which adds to the nutty flavor of yakgwa, is also beneficial to your health. Sesame oil contains healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
How To Cook And Serve Yakgwa
Ingredients Needed for Making Yakgwa
To make yakgwa, you will need flour, honey, sesame oil, and rice wine. These ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores. The honey is used to sweeten the dough while sesame oil gives it a nutty flavor. Rice wine is added to give the dough a slightly sour taste.
Making the Dough
The first step in making yakgwa is to prepare the dough. Start by mixing flour and honey in a bowl until they are well combined. Add sesame oil and rice wine to the mixture and continue stirring until everything is well mixed. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Cutting and Frying Yakgwa
Once you have prepared the dough, roll it out into thin sheets using a rolling pin. Cut them into small shapes using cookie cutters or a knife. Heat some oil in a deep frying pan or wok over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the pieces of yakgwa until they turn golden brown on both sides.
After frying, remove the yakgwa from the pan using a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil. Once cooled down, serve as desired – either as snacks or desserts.
Variations of Yakgwa Recipe
While traditional yakgwa recipe uses only four basic ingredients mentioned above, there are variations that can be made based on personal preferences or dietary restrictions:
Cooking and serving Yakgwa can be a fun and rewarding experience. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a tasty treat that will impress your friends and family. Whether you choose to fry them in oil or bake them in the oven, these cookies are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.