Omija punch with pear

Omija-hwachae 오미자화채

I went to Mungyeong in Korea to learn more about omija, my favorite berries. I’ve been putting about 1 teaspoon omija in my green smoothie every morning for a while.

In English they are known as Schisandra berries or five flavor berries because they taste sour, salty, sweet, spicy, and bitter. Yes, all five tastes in each berry!  Mungyeong county is where most of the Korean omija is grown, and I went to an omija farm to see how they grow them.

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This recipe is for a refreshing omija punch with pear and noodles. A lot of people like omija for their many health benefits but in Korea we’ve long made punch from them, because the ice cold punch really quenches your thirst, and with pear (or peach) and honey, it makes a nice dessert. The mung bean jelly noodles make it more delicious and give it a pleasurable texture, making it fun to drink and chew, kind of like aloe gel.

Fresh omija is hard to find outside of Korea, especially out of season, but you can find it dried in Korean grocery stores or at Amazon. The farm that I visited said they will be exporting their omija drinks and berries to America soon.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce (28 grams) dried omija (about ¼ cup)
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1½ cup ice cubes
  • 1 Korean pear (or anjou, bosc pear)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, tips removed

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For the jelly noodles:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon mung bean starch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Put the dried omija and water in a glass jar. Cover and soak for 24 hours.
    omija (schisandra)
  2. Strain it over a large bowl or another glass jar.
  3. Add the honey and stir well with a wooden spoon until the honey is totally dissolved.
  4. Refrigerate.
    omija (schisandra)

Make jelly noodles:

  1. Combine 1 cup water and the mung bean starch in a small, thick-bottomed pan. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
  2. Heat it up and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring with the wooden spoon until the jelly turns translucent and starts to bubble. Remove from the heat.
    mung bean jelly noodlesmung bean jelly
  3. Pour the jelly into a glass container. Let it cool down for 2 to 3 hours, until the jelly is totally solid.
    mung bean jelly
  4. Run a knife in between the jelly and the four walls of the container, loosening the jelly enough so you can turn the container upside down and easily slide the jelly out in one piece.
  5. Cut the jelly into tiny cubes.
    mung bean jelly

Serve:

  1. Peel the pear and cut into slices about ¼ inch thick. Cut the slices into bite size pieces or use a vegetable or cookie cutter to punch out some fun shape.
    omija (schisandra)
  2. Ladle about 1 cup punch to a bowl. Add 3 to 4 ice cubes, about 3 tablespoons of jelly cubes, and 4 to 5 pear slices. Stir it gently to make it cool.
  3. Sprinkle with several pine nuts and serve with a spoon.
    omija punch (schisandra)

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5 Comments:

  1. Cornelius B. Ecuador joined 12/17 & has 33 comments

    Wow, next time I´m in Quito, I gotto ask my korean shopkeeper if he has Omija!

    But what I enjoyed most in the video, were the views of korean landscape and nature! Never imagined that Korea was sooo gorgeous! Falling in love with Korea! Maangchi: must be hard for you to return to a place like NY City after visiting your home country. Reckon, you´ll be homesick for a while…

  2. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 38 comments

    Maangchi,
    Is omija similar to Goji berries. They are small berries when dried that are slightly sweet and bitter.

  3. Horangi1962 El Paso,Texas joined 6/18 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi,

    So delicious. What is the music you use in your video

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