Hangwa (한과; 韓菓) is a general term for traditional Korean confections. With tteok (rice cakes), hangwa forms the sweet food category in Korean cuisine. Various hangwa have been used in traditional ceremonies such as jerye (ancestral rite) and hollye (wedding). In modern South Korea, hangwa is also available at coffee shops and tea houses.
|Place of origin||Korea|
|Associated national cuisine||Korean cuisine|
Hangwa (한과; 韓菓) as meaning "Korean confectionery" is a name given to traditional confections in contrast to yanggwa (양과; 洋菓), meaning "Western confectionery". In the past hangwa was called jogwa (조과; 造果) as meaning "crafted fruit" or gwajeongnyu (과정류; 果飣類) as meaning "fruit food category".
The history of hangwa goes back to the era of the three kingdoms (57 BCE ‒ 668 CE), when various types of confections were consumed by royals, according to the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms.
Passing the two Buddhist dynasties, Unified Silla in the era of two kingdoms (698–926) and Goryeo (936‒1392), the cultivation of crops and consumption of confections increased drastically as the Buddhist diets forbade meat. Confections were offered in Goryeo's national feasts, rites, ceremonies, and banquets, including the two Buddhist festivals, the Lotus Lantern Festival and the Festival of the Eight Vows. Prevailing tea ceremonies also required more types of confections.
Concerns regarding the increasingly excessive use of confections that have large amounts of oil, grain, and honey have consequently lead to several regulations throughout the course of its history. In 1117, King Sukjong issued a restriction on the extravagant usage of deep-fried grain confections. In 1192, it was commanded to replace deep-fried grain confections with fruits. In 1353, a total ban was placed on deep-fried grain confections.
Restrictions continued in the Joseon (1392‒1897), according to Comprehensive Collection of the National Codes that recorded that the use of deep-fried grain confections was restricted solely for rites, weddings, and toasts to longevity. Commoners caught eating them on occasions other than that were subjected to monetary fines or corporal punishment.
- Candies – Traditional Korean candies can be eaten as they are, or used as sweetening ingredients in other types of hangwa. Dang (당; 糖; "candy") or Dangryu (당류; 糖類; "candy category") refers to hard and sweet confection. It can be made of crystallized sugar, or saccharified starch. Yeot is a traditional sweet in either liquid or solid form, as a syrup, taffy, or candy. It is made with grains such rice, glutinous rice, glutinous sorghum, corn, sweet potatoes, by saccharifying them using barley malt.
- Dasik, literally "tea food", is a bite-size sweet that is normally accompanied by tea. It is made by pressing honied powder into a decorative mold. Typical ingredients include rice flour, pine pollen, black sesame, chestnut, and soybean.
- Gwapyeon is a jelly-like summer dessert made with fruits. Gwapyeon can be made with a variety of fruit, including berries, cherries, and apricots.
- Jeonggwa is a crispy, chewy sweet made of candied fruits, roots, or seeds. Common ingredients include yuja, quince, apricot, lotus root, radish, carrot, ginseng, balloon flower root, ginger, burdock root, bamboo shoot, and winter melon.
- Suksil-gwa, literally "cooked fruit", is a consisting of cooked fruit, roots, or seeds sweetened with honey. Common ingredients include chestnut, jujube, and ginger. Suksil-gwa is similar to—and sometimes classified as—jeonggwa, but has unique characteristics that differentiate it from the jeonggwa category.
- Yeot-gangjeong is a confection made by mixing toasted seeds, nuts, beans, or popped grains with rice syrup and cut into desired shapes. Common ingredients are pine nuts, walnuts, peanuts, sesame or perilla seeds, and popped rice.
- Yugwa is a deep-fried confection made with glutinous rice flour dough. It can be classified into gangjeong, sanja, and hangwa depending on the shapes and size.
- Yumil-gwa refers to deep-fried confection made of wheat flour dough. It can be classified into mandu-gwa (dumplings), maejap-gwa (ribbons), and yakgwa (flower) according to the cooking methods.
Other hangwa varieties include:
- Gotgam-mari is a roll made of dried persimmons and walnuts. It can be made by rolling a toasted and peeled walnut with a dried, deseeded, and flattened persimmon, then slicing each roll like slicing a gimbap.
- Kkultarae is a hangwa made by meticulously pulling yeot into fine strands, then wrapping candied nuts with the "hair".
- Yaksik, also called yakbap, is a sweet rice dessert made with steamed glutinous rice mixed with honey, soy sauce, jujubes, chestnuts, pine nuts, and sesame oil.
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- Kwon, Yong-Seok; Kim, Young; Kim, Yang-Suk; Choe, Jeong-Sook; Lee, Jin-Young (2012). "An Exploratory Study on Kwa-Jung-ryu of Head Families". Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture (in Korean). 27 (6): 588–597. doi:10.7318/kjfc/2012.27.6.588.
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