Monday, January 18, 2016

Barley Tea | Boricha (보리차)

Barley tea was almost always in the fridge when I was growing up. Barley tea ("boricha" a.k.a. "보리차" in Korean) is really good for you. I feel like most of the time, my mom would have to force feed me the random healthy dishes she'd make (like anything with ginseng) but barley tea was probably the only thing I ever consumed of my own accord.

Barley tea is full of antioxidants and it's good for circulation and digestion. It has a light, nutty taste (it almost has a toasted popcorn flavor) and when it's chilled, it's incredibly refreshing.
Ingredients [yields 2 to 3 quarts]:
½ cup barley
2 to 3 quarts water

You can certainly purchase toasted barley but I like toasting it myself because it's what my mom did and because I think it imparts more flavor to the tea to use freshly toasted barley.

If you're toasting your own barley, start by heating up a heavy pan (like cast iron) and toss in the barley. Stir constantly and stand over the pan until the grains are golden.
Here's the difference between toasted and untoasted. The untoasted barley looks so pale!
Pour the toasted barley into a large pot and top with water. Bring to a rapid boil.
Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and allow the tea to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the tea is golden. At this point, the barley should be puffed (from absorbing water) and sunken to the bottom of the pot.
Allow the tea to cool before bottling it up and chilling it in the fridge. Obviously, this tea can also be enjoyed warm, but I prefer it ice cold.
Like I said, barley tea is lightly nutty and delicious. It's also awesomely kid-friendly because it doesn't have the bitter flavor of teas brewed from tea leaves. I find this incredibly refreshing, even in the winter, because I drink cold beverages year round. It's also my favorite (and only) alternative to drinking water with my Korean meals.
Here's the recipe page:

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