Recently, after the survival drama television series “Squid Game” aired in September, dalgona candy, or ppopgi, became a worldwide sensation and people from all corners of the world were seen on instagram pouring the shiny brown liquid on wax paper.
The meaning of the word “dalgona” came from the word “dalguna,” which literally translates to “it’s sweet.” The candy is normally sold by street vendors in Korea, where the candy is traditionally referred to as “ppopgi,” meaning “to pick.” Normally, there would be a sort of game to play for a larger piece of dalgona candy.
Until about six months ago, no one knew what dalgona candy was. Now, I can go up to anyone and they would know.
I chose this recipe because I thought that it was ironic how trends can change people’s perceptions of a particular country and culture. I used to make dalgona candy during the holidays, and I always thought that it was only a “Korean thing”.
My family used to joke around, suggesting dalgona candy for school snacks. But my parents always said, “The Americans won’t like it.” And the statement was true. Americans did not like it. The bittersweet taste of burnt sugar and baking soda did not seem very appetizing at the time.
But it actually turned out to be a good hit! Other people around the world actually enjoy the process of making the candy and playing the game as well, and I’m glad “Squid Game” has started that trend.
So… Here’s how my family makes it for the holidays.
Ingredients (you can change the amounts of either to your liking):
3/2 tablespoons of sugar (white or brown)
1/16 teaspoons of baking soda
chopstick to stir sugar
baking sheet/parchment paper
dalgona press, cookie cutter
1. Put sugar into the ladle and dip the bottom of the ladle into cold or room temperature water
2. Melt sugar in the ladle (preferably ¼ of the ladle) over the stove at low heat
3. Stir constantly with a chopstick so that the sugar doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom
4. Bring the ladle on and off the stove
5. After the sugar has completely melted, put a pinch of baking soda
6. After putting in baking soda, turn off the stove
7. Mix with a chopstick until the baking soda has fully mixed with the sugar
8. As soon as they have fully mixed, pour the mixture out on a baking sheet/parchment paper
9. Wait about 15 seconds and add some sugar to the top
10. Then, place a dalgona press on top
11. Once you’ve pressed the dalgona candy, immediately place the cookie cutter
12. And that’s it! Wait a couple minutes before eating!
In Korea, Korean vendors normally play games with the dalgona candy. If the children can use a needle to poke through the shape of the dalgona candy and cut out the outer layer, they can get another one. It was an intense game to play, and normal students failed to complete the task (including both my parents). But it was a simple and fun pastime, especially when Korea wasn’t necessarily a rich country. Knowing all of that, test it out yourself!
Website with a video on how to make dalgona candy: https://preppykitchen.com/dalgona-candy/