K-Recipe: Feeling Bougie with a Homemade Tomato Ade 🍅

by Isabel Bang

To be exact, Today’s recipe is for the “syrup” that you need to make this Tomato ade. What we’ll be making is a Tomato Basil Cheong (청). Cheong is a Korean word for sweetened food in the form of syrups, which slightly differs from jams or marmalades - as it’s not boiled nor are the ingredients mashed! Cheong was a word for ‘honey’ back in the Joseon dynasty between the royalties. But as the word ‘ggul’ (꿀) was more used between the commoners, the meaning of cheong eventually changed throughout the years to mean this specific ‘syrup’. The most common type of cheongs since the old days would be maesil cheong (plum syrup) and yuja cheong (yuzu syrup). In my childhood these will always be in my granny’s cupboard, for when I caught a cold and she’d make me a hot yuja cheong tea. Kinda similar to how we drink lemon & ginger tea in NZ when feeling unwell!


Homemade cheongs were always considered as a very thoughtful and loving gift (remember in Yumi’s Cells when Yumi found it disturbing when Sae Yi gifted Woong a handmade yuja cheong? 😂). Hence why some people make a dozen jars when they do, to share them with friends and lovers! These days, the ingredients for these cheongs have broadened to include lemons, grapefruits, strawberries, kiwis, and even pomegranate! Especially as the retro trend hit Korea, cheongs were made by the younger generations more often than usual. But this Tomato Basil Cheong is something that came around very recently!


As Koreans say, cheong tea is a great healthy replacement for our usual fizzy drinks. Each cheong is known for its good effects on the body, so let's find out what tomato and basil will do for us. Tomatoes help with digestion, dissolves body fat, tiredness, and even are a cure for hangovers. Basil is just filled with antioxidants and vitamins that benefit the body such as Vit K and Vit A. Do you know what’s most important? Both tomatoes and basils are EXCEPTIONAL superfoods for the skin  👀

We all already know that tomatoes and basils are the power duo when it comes to flavours. Used in numerous dishes together, their flavours complement each other to create the refreshing taste of summer ☀️ Add this summer-heat-fighting cheong in iced sparkling water? You can drop your iced lattes now, and pick up this healthier drink option.



  • Cherry Tomatoes (550g)
  • Sugar (500g)
  • Lemon or Lime Juice (2 Tbsp)
  • Fresh Basil (8g)


1) Wash the cherry tomatoes and remove the stem. Cut a cross into the base with a knife.

2) Simmer the tomatoes in boiling water for five seconds and move them to cool water after.

3) Peel the skin off the tomatoes and place them on paper towels to dry.

4) In a bowl, put the tomatoes, sugar, lemon/lime juice, and basils and stir well. (Tip: If you’re not a sweet tooth, I recommend you ⅔ the amount of sugar!)

5) In a clean and sterilised glass container, put the tomato-basil mix in.

6) Leave at room temperature for a day, and you have your Tomato Basil Cheong ✨


And now to have this as a soda or ade! Fill up an iced glass with sparkling water, add about 3 spoons of the syrup and add 2-3 of the sweetened cherry tomatoes. If you want to have it more herby-scented, add a couple of fresh basil leaves and voilá! You have yourself a beautiful fancy drink right at your very home. Since it’s a drink of things great for the skin, it totally calls for a sheet mask session in the bedroom, opened windows for some breeze, with a favourite novel on the other hand. Who’s keen to join me? 🥰

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