Jocheong is a Korean product that is traditionally used as a sweetener or as a substitute for sugar in the preparation of sweets and biscuits.
Depending on the region, a variety of Jocheong is produced which differs due to the cereal used. For example, in the province of Gangwon, corn is used (Oksusu Jocheong), in the provinces of Jeolla it is derived from sweet potatoes (Goguma Jocheong), while in the province of Chungcheong, radish is used (Mu-Jocheong).
Ssal Jochoeng, on the other hand, is derived from white rice and in fact the term Ssal in Korean indicates precisely this – white rice, a very important cereal in Korean gastronomy. The process needed to produce Ssal Jocheong is very long as it requires many passages that often last longer than a day. At first glutinous rice is steamed, then once cooked, and while the rice is still warm, malt and cold water are added. The paste that is obtained is then transferred to a container and left to rest for a whole night. The process continues on the morning of the following day as excess liquid is eliminated using a kind of very fine canvas bag. The filtered liquid is collected in a large container and pitted jubjubs are added. The mixture is boiled slowly to obtain a dense liquid similar to honey. Finally, it is transferred into a porcelain container, sealed with a lid and placed underground for at least a month. From a gastronomic point of view, it is a kind of sweetener or substitute for sugar, used for example, in the preparation of Ttok (a rice-based dessert) or Hangwa- another traditional Korean sweet. Due to demand from the confectionery industries, the introduction of less artisanal techniques used for the realization of the Ssal Jocheong has been carried out.
Furthermore, due to the increasingly large-scale consumption of processed sugar, often imported, Jocheong is disappearing. Nowadays, it is only produced by small artisan companies or at family level.