Korean corn tea, or Oksusu cha is a classic Korean beverage. Although called ‘tea’, it isn’t tea in the normal sense; it’s essentially boiled corn water. Corn kernels are slowly roasted until almost blackened and charred, and boiled in water until the water takes on the slightly nutty flavour of the corn. Drunk hot or cold, corn tea or its other ubiquitous variant, barley tea (Bori cha) are quintessential staple drinks in every Korean home.
The Korean restaurant that we frequent here in Chennai serves chilled corn tea, and it tastes exactly the same as this one! I like mine served cold, which seems to be the common practice at restaurants anyway, but hot is good too—reminiscent of their Chinese counterpart—robust and aromatic yet gentle on the palate.
I roast big batches of corn and store for future use. That way you just boil them down with water, and refrigerate for a quick refreshing drink. A cinch to make and stays good in the fridge for almost a week, this one is going to keep me going all summer long!
- ¾ cup corn kernels
- Sugar (optional - I don't use any)
- Roast the corn kernels in a dry pan over medium heat. Move them around often until they darken and are almost blackened in parts, about 10 - 15 minutes. (You can roast more corn and store in an air-tight container for later use).
- Transfer the roasted corn to a pot and top with 6 cups of water. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes. Taste the tea at this stage and add more water if you feel it’s too strong, or more corn if you’d like to elevate the flavour.
- Strain the corn kernels and serve hot. Alternatively, refrigerate and serve chilled.