Tanghulu 탕후루

125. Making Tanghulu (탕후루) at Home

Introduction

What is Tanghulu?
Tanghulu (탕후루) is a traditional street food made by skewering fruits like hawthorn berries, strawberries, or grapes and coating them in a sugary glaze. The result is a delightful combination of a crispy, sweet shell and the natural flavors of the fruit inside.
However, the excessive sugar used for the texture of Tanghulu is harmful to the body. If you want to try it for fun, I’ll show you a simple recipe you can make at home.

 

Body

1. Tanghulu is popular in Korea?

Tanghulu has gained popularity in South Korea. It has become a trendy and sought-after treat, especially among the younger generation.

The popularity of Tanghulu in South Korea can be attributed to several factors:

 

Tanghulu 탕후루 3

 

  • Visual Appeal: Tanghulu’s shiny and colorful appearance makes it visually appealing, making it a popular choice for social media posts and food-related content. Its aesthetic qualities have contributed to its popularity.
  • Street Food Culture: South Korea has a vibrant street food culture, and Tanghulu fits perfectly into this scene. It’s often available at street stalls, food markets, and festivals.
  • Variety of Flavors: In South Korea, you can find a wide range of Tanghulu flavors. Beyond the traditional fruit options, creative variations include Tanghulu made with tteok (rice cakes), gummy candies, and even savory ingredients like chicken.
  • Cultural Exchange: The exchange of cultural influences between China and South Korea has played a role in the popularity of Tanghulu. As with other food trends, South Korea has put its spin on Tanghulu, making it uniquely Korean.
  • Social Media and Food Trends: Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have helped spread the popularity of Tanghulu. Creative and visually appealing food trends tend to go viral quickly on these platforms, and Tanghulu is no exception.
  • Nostalgia: For some, Tanghulu may evoke nostalgia, as it is a treat that they may have enjoyed in their childhood. The nostalgic element can be a strong driver of popularity.

Overall, Tanghulu’s appeal in South Korea is a combination of its unique appearance, adaptability to local tastes, and its presence within the vibrant street food culture. Its popularity continues to grow, and it remains a favorite among those looking for a sweet and crunchy snack with a touch of nostalgia and modern flair.

 

2. Types of Tanghulu

Tanghulu comes in various fruit choices, but the most popular options are strawberries, grapes, and hawthorn berries. Each fruit type offers a unique taste and texture when combined with the sugar glaze.

 

3. Tanghulu Calories

One common question is about the calorie content of Tanghulu. While the exact number varies depending on the fruit and the amount of sugar used, it’s generally considered a relatively low-calorie treat compared to many other desserts.

 

4. Tanghulu and Health

Tanghulu can be a healthier alternative to other sugary snacks when prepared with moderation. The fruit provides essential vitamins and antioxidants, while the sugar glaze adds sweetness.

Tanghulu is a delicious snack that is commonly made using various fruits. The most frequently used fruits for making Tanghulu include:

 

  • Strawberries: These are one of the most popular choices for Tanghulu due to their sweet and juicy nature.
  • Grapes: Both red and green grapes are used to create a unique combination of sweet and tangy flavors.
  • Hawthorn Berries: Traditional Tanghulu often features hawthorn berries, providing a slightly tart taste that complements the sugar coating.
  • Other Fruits: While the above fruits are the primary choices, some variations of Tanghulu might use other fruits like kiwi, apples, or even citrus fruits.

These fruits are skewered and then coated in a sugary glaze to create the delightful, crispy treat known as Tanghulu. The choice of fruit can influence the overall taste and texture of this snack.

 

5. Substitutes for Tanghulu Sugar

  • Honey: Honey can be used to create a sweet glaze. It adds a unique flavor and natural sweetness to the treat.
  • Maltose: Maltose is another sweetener often used as a substitute for sugar in Tanghulu. It can provide a glossy and crispy finish.
  • Sugar-Free Sweeteners: For those looking to reduce their sugar intake, sugar-free sweeteners can be an option. They come in various forms, such as stevia, erythritol, or xylitol.

Tanghulu 탕후루 2

 

These alternatives can help you enjoy Tanghulu with a different twist, catering to your dietary preferences and health goals. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture may vary slightly when using these substitutes, so it’s a matter of personal taste.

 

6. Healthy Tanghulu Recipe

If you’re interested in making Tanghulu at home, we’ll provide you with a healthier recipe that maintains the deliciousness while being mindful of sugar intake.

 

Ingredients:

 

  • Fresh fruit (strawberries, grapes, or hawthorn berries are popular choices)
  • Wooden skewers or lollipop sticks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (you can use less if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A silicone baking mat or parchment paper

Instructions:

 

Tanghulu 탕후루 1

 

1) Prepare the Fruit:

  • Wash and dry the fruit you’ll be using. If you’re using strawberries, make sure they are completely dry to help the sugar coating stick better. Remove any stems or leaves.

2) Skewer the Fruit:

  • Thread the fruit onto the wooden skewers or lollipop sticks. Make sure they’re securely attached to the sticks.

3) Make the Sugar Glaze:

  • In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Stir well.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

4) Boil the Sugar Mixture:

  • Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Continue boiling the sugar syrup until it reaches the hard crack stage, which is around 300°F (150°C) on a candy thermometer. This should take around 10-15 minutes.

5) Dip the Fruit:

  • Carefully dip each skewered fruit into the hot sugar syrup, coating it evenly. Allow any excess syrup to drip off.

6) Set on a Baking Mat:

  • Place the sugar-coated fruit on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to cool and harden. Make sure they are not touching each other to prevent sticking.

7) Enjoy:

  • Once the sugar coating has hardened, your healthy tanghulu is ready to enjoy!

This version of tanghulu uses less sugar compared to traditional recipes, making it a relatively healthier option. It’s a delicious way to enjoy fresh fruit with a sweet and crunchy twist.

 

Conclusion

Tanghulu is a popular snack these days. It’s a delightful combination of flavors and textures that have been enjoyed by generations. However, Tanghulu can be harmful to your health due to its excessive use of sugar. If you still want to eat it, try reducing sugar at home and using sugar substitutes. If you are a family with children, you will need help from your parents to cook. Cooking is dangerous for children because it uses heated tools. The taste and appearance are less perfect than the Tanghulu you buy at the store or on the street, but try it just for fun and to enjoy the taste.

 

FAQ

1. Is Tanghulu only made in China?
Tanghulu has its origins in China, but it has gained popularity in various countries, especially in Asia. You can find variations of this treat in different places.

 

2. Can I make Tanghulu with any fruit?
While traditional choices include strawberries, grapes, and hawthorn berries, you can experiment with other fruits, as long as they are skewerable and can hold up to the sugar glaze.

 

3. How long does it take for the sugar glaze to harden?
The hardening time of the sugar glaze can vary depending on the temperature and humidity. Generally, it takes around 15-20 minutes.

 

4. Is Tanghulu a gluten-free snack?
Yes, Tanghulu is naturally gluten-free as it primarily consists of fruit and sugar glaze.

 

5. Can I store Tanghulu for later consumption?
Tanghulu is best enjoyed fresh, but you can store it in an airtight container for a day or two. However, it may lose some of its crispiness over time.

 

Today’s Quiz

Question: What alternative ingredient can be used instead of sugar to coat Tanghulu?

Answer: Honey, maltose, or sugar-free sweeteners can be used as substitutes for sugar in Tanghulu to achieve a sweet glaze while catering to different dietary preferences.

 

Sources

“Tanghulu – Chinese Candied Fruit Skewers.” The Woks of Life. Website

“Tanghulu: A Chinese Snack You Won’t Be Able To Resist.” KKday. Website

“The Effect of Maltose Coating on the Preservation of Strawberries.” Frontiers in Microbiology. Website

“Nutritional and Functional Properties of Hawthorn Berries.” Food & Function. Website

 

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