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Winter Melon Tea

Let's make winter melon tea syrup from winter melon, brown sugar, and rock sugar. You can serve and enjoy winter melon tea all summer long with this syrup.

Winter melon (冬瓜) is a versatile fruit, very delicious either cooked into winter melon soup or as delicious fruit drink like this winter melon tea. This tea is super popular in many Southeast and East Asian countries. From my own experience, I know that you can buy this tea fresh very easily in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. The tea is almost always served chilled, and thus, very popular during hot weather. And if you have been craving this tea, you will be able to prepare this easily in your home with my recipe. :)

Winter Melon Tea

Winter Melon Tea

What is winter melon tea?

Winter melon tea (冬瓜茶), also sometimes called winter melon punch, white gourd drink, ash gourd juice, or teh kundur in Malaysia and Indonesia is a Chinese tea made from the flesh of winter melon (冬瓜) cooked with brown sugar and rock sugar. In the US, I have seen this drink sold in gallon-size jugs in the Asian markets, and of course, there are also the canned and boxed drink versions. I have even spotted winter melon tea bricks where it only needs to be dissolved in hot water to make the tea! Talk about convenience. :)

Winter Melon Tea

Winter Melon Tea

How do you make winter melon tea at home?

Despite its name, there are no tea leaves in a winter melon tea. Instead, it relies on these three ingredients:

  • winter melon (冬瓜), also known as a wax gourd, ash gourd, or white gourd
  • brown sugar, traditionally we use Chinese brown sugar blocks (冰片糖), but regular/dark brown sugar is a great substitute
  • rock sugar (冰糖)

From these three ingredients, we can cook them into winter melon syrup so we can enjoy this tea whenever we wish. Here is how to prepare the syrup:

  1. Mix winter melon (meat only) with brown sugar in a soup pot. Set aside for about 1 hour, you should see that some liquid has formed.
  2. Add rock sugar and mix. Place the pot on the stovetop, turn on the heat, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until winter melon is completely transparent. This takes about 2 hours.
  3. Turn off the heat. Pass the pot content over a strainer. Strain and press as much liquid through the strainer as you can. The strained liquid is our winter melon tea syrup.
    Tips: Don’t throw away the leftover winter melon, you can serve it with yogurt or pancakes/waffles for breakfast!

I store my syrup in a glass jar, and it should stay fresh for up to one week. When I want to enjoy some winter melon tea, I simply mix 1 part syrup to 3 parts water. Sometimes, I will add ice cubes when the weather is especially hot. :)

Winter Melon Tea


5.0 from 2 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Total Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 8-12

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kilogram (~ 3.5 lb.) winter melon meat (remove the rind and seeds), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 250 gram (~ 9 oz.) brown sugar
  • 50 gram (~ 18 oz.) rock sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix winter melon with brown sugar in a soup pot. Set aside for about 1 hour, you should see that some liquid has formed.
  2. Add rock sugar and mix. Place the pot on the stovetop, turn on the heat, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until winter melon is completely transparent. This takes about 2 hours.
  3. Turn off the heat. Pass the pot content over a strainer. Strain and press as much liquid through the strainer as you can. The strained liquid is our winter melon tea syrup.
  4. To serve, make "tea" with 1 part concentrated winter melon syrup and 3 parts water. Add some ice cubes, and stir everything together. Serve cold.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • ara ara says:

    Does rock sugar taste different from granulated white sugar?

    • Anita Anita says:

      The taste is similar to sugar, but it is less sweet compared to regular white sugar. If you cannot find rock sugar, just use white sugar, but reduce the amount since regular sugar is sweeter.

  • ara ara says:

    Thanks so much for the response. I saw a big block looking like dark brown sugar and labeled wintermelon tea in an Asian store. I'll try that soon since I don't have easy access to the fruit.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Ah.. I think I have seen it before. I heard that it is really sweet.

  • Cher Pada Cher Pada says:

    Hi, what do you mean by flesh? Is it the inner or outer? And If it the inner part should I just leave the seeds in it or remove it? And in step 1 in putting it in a pot, is it already being heated on a stove or not?

    • Anita Anita says:

      To clarify, flesh means the inner (meat?) of the winter melon, and with seeds removed as much as possible. The pot doesn't need to be heated beforehand. I hope this helps :)

  • Aster Zhen Aster Zhen says:

    Hi do you add water while cooking? Thanks

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Aster, there is no need to add water while cooking. The melon will release quite a bit of liquid on its own. Also, we are trying to make it into a syrupy consistency.

  • Emilia Emilia says:

    I tried this recipe, how come the taste is different with winter melon tea from bubble tea place. It taste more like brown sugar liquid

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Emilia, I haven't tried winter melon tea from bubble tea place, so I cannot comment. But my recipe yields winter melon tea with taste similar to the one widely sold in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. If you have ever tried white gourd drink from Yeo's, this recipe should produce tea with a very similar taste.

  • Sable Sable says:

    how much water?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Sable, there is no need to add water while cooking. The melon will release quite a bit of liquid on its own. Also, we are trying to make it into a syrupy consistency. We only need to add water when making tea out of the syrup, and the amount of water depends on how thick and how sweet you want the tea to be at that time.

  • Leiz Leiz says:

    Hi Anita, thanks for the great recipe. How about processing the winter melon first using a blender before cooking it? Do you discard the fibers of the winter melon i.e. those left in the strainer, or mix them in the syrup?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hmm.. I have never tried using blender before. But your suggestion should work Leiz. I think if using blender, the first step can be skipped, and just directly proceed to step 2, but I haven't tried to confirm this yet. The strained fibers are not mixed with syrup, but since it can be a waste to just throw them away, you can use them as yogurt topping for breakfast. :)

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