Hi everybody! The tea I’m going to show you today, insam-daechucha (ginseng jujube tea), is Koreans’ all-time favorite.
Koreans have been using ginseng for thousands of years and strongly believe in its abilities to boost the immune system and give us energy. Because it takes so long to grow, is so precious, and is so hard to find, it’s very expensive. There are ginseng farms where roots are grown commercially from anywhere from 2 to 6 years, although most are grown for 4 years. However many people think the best ginseng grows wild in the mountains, which can only be found by foraging and good luck. I read about a guy in Korea who found 11 good-looking ginseng roots that were 120 years old, and sold them for $300,000!
Not everyone reacts well to ginseng: it adds heat to your system, so if your natural temperature is already a bit warm, it might upset your natural balance and be too much heat for you.
Ginseng is a little bitter, so it goes well with sweet jujubes: this tea is a little bitter, a little sweet, and has a strong, earthy ginseng flavor.
I’ll show you two ways to make insam-daechucha today: the authentic traditional (farther down below) and a time-saving modern way that I developed. The traditional method makes for a clearer tea, and has a nice flavor. When you boil this tea, the smell will be full in your house! The time-saving way that I show in the video will have chewy and soft bits in the tea, and will be very strong. The key to this method is to use fresh ginseng.
I love both ways! They are super-delicious and I always feel so good after drinking them!
Ingredients (serves 12):
- 2 large fresh ginseng roots (2 ounces), washed and dried with paper towel
- ½ pound dried jujubes, washed and pat-dried with a paper towel
- ½ cup honey
- pine nuts
- Remove the seed from each jujube. Cut into small pieces, put them in a bowl, and set aside.
- Remove the top of the ginseng roots. Cut them into small pieces and put them in the bowl.
- Grind the mixture of ginseng and jujube in a food processor or a powerful grinder until it becomes a sticky lump.
- Put the mixture into a bowl and add honey. Mix well with a spoon and transfer to a glass jar.
Add about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into a cup of hot water and mix well. Sprinkle with a few pine nuts and serve hot. The mix will keep in the fridge for a month.
Traditional method to make ginseng jujube tea
- 3-4 large fresh or dried ginseng roots
- a dozen jujubes, washed and pat-dried with a paper towel
- pine nuts
- Place the ginseng roots and the jujubes in a pyrex pot (or an earthenware pot).
- Add 7 cups of water and boil over medium high heat for 30 minutes. Then lower the heat.
- Simmer for 2½ hours until 1/3 of the tea boils off and it turns brownish red. Remove from the heat.
- To get the full amount of possible flavor from the ginseng roots and jujubes, we’ll need to make tea from it at least twice. There are no hard and fast rules, it really depends on the strength of your ingredients. So pour out this tea, share and drink it, but keep the ginseng and jujubes in the pot. Traditionally, Koreans drink the first batch as the second batch is boiling, but if it’s too much for you, you can keep it in the fridge for later.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3: add more water and simmer, until all the flavor from the ginseng roots and jujubes is gone.
Pour the tea into cup, add some honey to taste and stir well. Sprinkle with a few pine nuts and serve hot.