Thursday, September 30, 2010
1 Recipe #177: Corey's Soothing Homemade Herbal Tea Remedy
This all-natural herbal tea counts as a recipe, remedy, & a life-saver all in one. ;) It's one of my go-to recipes when I need something to soothe a sore throat or settle an upset stomach, especially when the weather starts to turn colder.
As a happy contrast to a lot of other tea recipes containing ginger, this one is a lot more subtly flavored, & thankfully a lot easier on the throat & taste buds. Frankly, I haven't really liked any of the pre-packaged varieties of ginger tea that I've tried thus far, because most were so strong that I couldn't drink them without feeling "the burn" all the way down. ;) At the end of the tea-drinking experience, I think my taste buds had been temporarily shocked into a state of total numbness. I couldn't taste anything but fire. ;)
So, I endeavored to make my own version, something truly pleasant & drinkable. Main criteria: Must be gentle & soothing, with no fiery aftertaste. ;) Believe me, I do love hot & spicy foods, but when one's tum is in a "state of emergency," hot 'n' spicy is the last thing it wants. ;)
Of course, the therapeutic uses of ginger -- particularly for the throat & digestive system -- are already quite well known. But did you also know that cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, mint, honey, lemongrass, and (moderate amounts of) lemon & lime juices can also have similarly positive effects upon these areas of the body as well? And, of course, it's no coincidence that all of these ingredients can all be found in the below recipe. :)
Corey's Soothing Homemade Herbal Tea Remedy
4 c. water
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled & sliced into 4 thin rounds (about 1" piece)
2 stalks lemongrass, dried (or fresh, if available, with root ends chopped off/removed & discarded)
2 sticks cinnamon bark, dried
10 whole cloves, dried
10 whole green cardamom pods
1 Tbsp. fresh whole mint leaves, loosely packed
freshly squeezed lime (or lemon) juice, to taste
honey, to taste
Directions: Bring the (4 c.) water to a rolling boil in a medium-sized sauce pot or tea kettle, about 8 minutes. Add all herbs & spices & continue to boil for another 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to steep for another 1-2 minutes, strain to remove whole herbs & spices, & then pour into a tea pot. (If it's easier, use heat-proof tongs first to remove the larger pieces -- ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon bark, etc. -- before straining.) Pour into tea cups, add desired amount of lime (or lemon) juice & honey, and serve.
Yield: Makes about 4-6 servings.
Chef's Notes: Please be sure to use whole green cardamom pods (i.e., cardamom in its natural, unprocessed form) and NOT those horrible bleached ones that are sold in generic grocery stores (i.e., the cardamom pods from McCormick's Gourmet Collection). In the latter case, not only has their color been bleached out, but so has their flavor & nutrients! Trust me, you don't want to boil them: Bleached cardamom pods have a freakishly antiseptic flavor (Yuck!), and this flavor is only made worse by boiling them. ;) Conversely, green cardamom smells wonderfully vibrant & heady and when you boil the pods, along with the other whole spices, they will make your whole kitchen smell absolutely divine!
Green cardamom pods can be ordered online or found in a local ethnic (i.e., Indian, Asian, etc.) market.