Yuja cha 유자 차


Yuja cha.

Yuja cha, a sweet yuja (유자,  also known as citron, or yuzu in Japanese) conserve will cure what ails ya. Mixed with hot water it, to make it cha (차, tea of course), it transforms from sticky gloppy mess to sweet sweet nectar.

This gooey jam is made by mixing carefully sliced citron with sugar, and maybe honey. If you leave this sweet tart mixture alone, reports say it’ll become amorphous, jelly-like and ripe for tea-making. I can’t test the theory, as despite having lived in South Korea for over a year (!) I’ve never actually identified a yuja fruit on any supermarket shelf or street stall basket display. I hear they’re big and citrus-looking, inedible when raw, divine when sugared and preserved. The name yuja cha refers to tea made from the yuja cha concentrate, but also to the yuja cha conserve itself, from here on in this article will use the latter definition.

So yuja cha seems like marmalade, right? It looks like marmalade, and the taste is comparable, but these are different beasts. Firstly, preparation. Marmalade is cooked and set with pectin, yuja cha is raw and sets by magic. Secondly, taste. Not being a fan of marmalade, i find it bitter, candied and spiteful, whereas yuja cha is bright, punchy and oversweet. Thirdly, uses. Although I’m sure that marmalade prepared as a tea would be frightful, yuja cha is a fair substitute in any place marmalade would be used.

Most websites recommend mixing a tablespoon of the conserve with hot water to make tea. Do that, taste, and then add more according to your appetite, being sure to stir well. Yuja cha fiends certainly add more than double that, refreshing the drink with hot water regularly. You’ll find pieces of zest at the bottom of your cup. Eat them. I think I actually like that part more than the tea. It makes a pleasant and refreshing cold drink as well, summer will bring experimentation. Yuja cha can also be used in cooking and baking in place of marmalade or anywhere a bit of sweetness and zing is required.

There are a range of brands, though I’ve seen no major difference between them. Honey yuja cha (꿀 유자 차, kkul yuja cha) is also available. Both are used as a herbal remedy to cure sore throats and snuffly noses, but I’m not so sure. This ‘tea’ is intensely sweet, slightly bitter, with a mysterious citrus-ness that demands you drink another cup. Please, don’t wait until you’re poorly to have a cup of yuja cha.

Yuja cha 유자 차
1kg bottle costs anywhere from 5,000 won – 8,ooo won (~$4AU – $6.60AU).
A cup in a cafe will set you back at least 4,000 won (~$3.30AU).
Easily available in supermarkets in Korea.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

7 Comments

  1. Ozmo
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    so yuzu is the fruit and the finished product is called yuja. i have to wait till someone i know goes to melbourne .there is a korean shop cnr of victoria and elizabeth streets might have it.happy eating lili.

  2. Posted February 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ozmo, sorry if this is confusing, I’ve just edited it a little. The fruit citron is called yuzu in Japanese, and yuja in Korean. The prepared marmalade-y mix is called yuja cha, as is the tea, made by adding hot water.
    Good luck :)

  3. Jessica
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    This looks wonderful, I’d love to be able to try this someday. Is it available in Australia?

  4. Posted March 2, 2012 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    Jessica: I can’t say for sure, but I bet it’d be available at a Korean grocer, maybe in Strathfield in Sydney.

  5. Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I now buy mega tins of this stuff and live on it.
    Tom´s last [type] ..A traditional waste – Phil Kyung Jae (필경재)

  6. Posted March 17, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    “yuja cha is raw and sets by magic.”

    I think sugar has something to do with it :)

  7. Posted November 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    I love yuzu flavour and yujacha. Just to let you know, you can get yujacha pretty easily in Sydney. Miracle market at the basement of Word Square has it. Pretty much every Korean store on Pitt Street in Sydney has it too.

    Ragingcravings.
    ragingcravings´s last [type] ..Cheese of the month: Brie (November)

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