The weather is cooling and Chai is back on our mind. Early morning, late evening, or in between it is a beautiful, relaxing drink. Meditative in its making, the joy and love that goes into it can be tasted in the end result. I love to make it while I am cleaning the kitchen in the evening, stirring periodically, and loving the aroma of the brewing chai. Then to cuddle up on the lounge with a cuppa – ah, heaven on a cold night.
Longan Berries are warming, according to Chinese philosophy. So this tea is great for warming the toes on cold nights, or perfect for when a cold is coming on or you just feel cold. Enjoy this by the bowlful.
Longan are sold fresh and dried. For tea, it is much more convenient to use dried. They are loved by the Chinese and used commonly across China. They are used to flavour many dishes – winter sweets, sweet Chinese soups and congee. Great for snacks on their own if freshly dried, or mix with raisins and other dried fruits, and walnuts and other nuts.
It is easy to find them. Wander the aisles of your local Asian/Chinese shop until you find the dried fruit section. Sometimes you will find them sold in bulk. Choose ones that are soft, like raisins, and avoid the harder dried ones. Store them in a jar in your pantry, keep them in the fridge, or even freeze them to preserve them well.
In China this tea would be called a sweet soup. Serve it with the berries in the tea. You can strain them out if you prefer, but they are lovely left in and munched on as you sip. Longan are very relaxing and good for the memory as well.
Are you after other Teas? Try Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea, Cardamom, Coriander and Fennel Herbal Tea (Ayurvedic CCF Tea), and Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea.
A Summer-time salty yoghurt cooling drink from the Middle East.
I am keen on yoghurt drinks in warmer weather. Somehow they keep me feeling well and balanced. Lassi drinks – India’s contribution to the world of yoghurt drinks – are diverse and wonderful. Smoothies, made with yoghurt, encapsulate the modern trend of blending ingredients together. And the Middle East has much to offer.
This recipe is Ayran/Airyan, a drink claimed by both Turkey and Bulgaria. But it is popular across all of the Middle East. Syrians and Lebanese call it Laban Ayran. In Iraq and Jordan it’s called Shenina. And if you add a little crushed or dried mint to the drink, you’ll have Doogh, the Iranian version of Aryan.
Ayran is a mixture of yogurt, cold water and salt, but there are variations. What makes its Ayran special is that it is quite frothy. For example, one variation, the Susurluk Ayran, comes from a small town, Susurluk, in Turkey. The ingredients are the same, but in Susurluk restaurants cirulate the Ayran through a faucet, using high speed pumps, and this creates a foamy texture with a heavy creamy top. It is very famous, and eaten with a cheese panini-like dish called tost.
Make a herbal tea to revitalize you. I love this one.
Spiced tea is always intensely interesting. Do try it. This is a take on a similar tea served in India. It is very special both with and without the optional black tea.
You might also like to try Phanta (Basil) Tea, Ayurvedic Teas, or Herbal Teas. Or browse our complete set of tea recipes here and here. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series of recipes from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005.
You find the most magical spice infusions in India. Although I still call them “teas”, technically, they are infusions or tisanes. In India, tea (chai) is only made from the leaves of the tea plant, often supplemented with spices.
Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series of recipes from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005. You might also like our Tea recipes here and here. Our Chai recipes are here. Or browse our Indian recipes here.
Try this tea/herbal infusion, but not before bed. It is slightly diuretic so may disturb your sleep. It is another of the great Spring Detox teas, all of which are a variation on a theme. This is one of the first such teas that I made, and was instantly aware of its properties. Oh the power of herbs and spices.
Please also check out a similar tea – Pitta Tea – also suitable for Spring. You might enjoy The Making of Herbal Teas, The 5 C’s Golden Spiced Tea, and Yogi Tea. All of our teas are here, and Ayurvedic Hints here. Or simply explore our Early Spring Recipes.
There is something about Chai that makes everything Ok again.
Chai. Aaah, the very word invokes relaxation. In colder weather it comes into its own with its warming, comforting and nourishing emotive qualities.
Feel free to browse all of our Chai recipes here, or our general Tea recipes here. All of our drinks can be found here. You might also enjoy to take some time and expore our easy Winter recipes or our easy Summer recipes.
You know what? In hot weather I love a lassi, particularly a fruit lassi, for breakfast. Indian in origin, fruit lassi drinks mix yoghurt with fruit, spices and jaggery or sugar.
Today, there were peaches on the kitchen bench, strawberries in the fridge and basil in the garden. A beautiful breakfast was born in the shape of a lassi.
We have a range of sweet, fruit and salt lassi recipes for you to browse. You can explore all of our Yoghurt recipes here and here. The Drinks recipes are here and here. Or be inspired by our Early Summer recipes.
It took me a long time to find the balance of flavours in Jal Jeera that suited me. Some attempts, carefully following recipes in some books picked up in India, were undrinkable. Knowing those books better now, they do tend to get ratios in their recipes out of balance. This recipe is a cracker and works well.
You do have to love your Indian spices though. Jal Jeera is a cooling Summery drink full of spices, with cumin and mint featuring. Do try it – it is a unusual drink for Western palates, but worth trying in hot weather if you do love spices.
As soon as the hot weather hits, thoughts turn to iced drinks and drinks that are cooling on the system. Iced teas, iced coffee and juices are our go-to coolers. This juice uses watermelon and is delicious! It is best to buy watermelon later in the season, no early watermelons. They are lacking in the true watermelon taste.
Don’t be afraid to add other cooling juices to the watermelon. Strawberries go very well with this. Cucumber and zucchini too, although green and red juices together go a murky colour. They taste amazing, but are not so visually appealing.
When the weather warms, so does the need for cooling drinks. Herbal teas are wonderful. So versatile, they can be sipped in the morning for a refreshing morning break, or drunk iced in the afternoon for a true cooling experience.
Make a whole jug full in the mornings, and put the remainder in the fridge for the afternoon. You can even pour some into ice-cube trays, place a mint leaf in each, and freeze for the afternoon iced tea.
You might like to try some of our other herbal teas – they are all suitable for being served iced during the summer months. Or check out our Drinks in general. You might like to explore our Early Summer recipes.
Dates, quite a wonderful food item. Lately I have been buying them from a local Afghan grocery. Their dates are fat and juicy and are perfect for snacking.
Dates are used in several cultures as strong healing ingredients, and fighters of energy lapses. Enjoy this drink morning or night to overcome energy sapping tiredness. Dates are soaked in milk for some hours to make the tonic. It is surprisingly sweet and delicious, not at all a medicinal taste.
Are you wishing that you could have a nice spiced coffee, the way that Chai adds spices to the humble black tea to create a wonderful, headily aromatic drink that is both warming and nourishing? Well, you can. Apart from some small pockets of this planet, it has been a well kept secret. But let that be no longer.
The simplest way to spice up your coffee is to add some cardamom. This elixir is common in Israel and the Middle East as well as India. Make your coffee as usual, adding some cardamom seeds, or crushed cardamom pods to the coffee grounds. The bitterness of good strong coffee with the sweet, pungent flavour of cardamom is not to be underestimated. Not only does cardamom coffee taste delicious but in Ayurvedic medicine the cardamom is reputed to reduces the acid in coffee and neutralise the over-stimulating effects of caffeine.
But it doesn’t end there. Other spices can be added too. Cloves, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger can be added – singly or in a mix.
A healthy tea for the Autumn months. It is gentle but wonderfully flavoured.
Autumn is a marvellous time to trial a range of healthy herbal teas. Often you will have the ingredients growing in your garden. Be careful, of course, choose only edible plants and herbs. This is a healthy tea for the Autumn months. It is gentle but wonderfully flavoured.
A tea to take you back to Bali
The combination of strong ginger and lemongrass is quintessential Bali. This is a tea that still features often at our place. Not only is it such a peaceful tea, engendering bliss and well being, it is great for the appetite and digestive system.