Once the heat of Summer and the warmth of Autumn die away we stop making fruit juices so often and turn to miso soups, and teas and infusions to warm our days and provide relaxing interludes. Here are some more, mainly infusions, to spark up your cold wet winter weather and get rid of the rainy day blues.
There are several recipes for Tulasyadi Phanta. This is one that is not so common – perhaps more recent as it includes lemongrass. It is a infusion that is good for colds and fevers, and also if you are exhausted from work or illness, and need to feel comforted and rested.
The infusion is made with Tulsi, the Indian holy basil, seeped with lemongrass, cloves and cinnamon. It really is relaxing – as you sip it in the afternoon you feel your body beginning to relax and your breath deepen. It is a gorgeous way to wind down.
Years ago, on my first trip to India, I had the most beautiful tea of Saffron and spices. I still make that often, but it is also very nice to pare the tea back and make an infusion with only saffron, or with saffron and rose buds. It is an amazingly relaxing tea which can be consumed hot or chilled.
While this is commonly called a Persian recipe it is also found all through India which is not surprising given the attention to spices in that sub continent. We prefer saffron from Saffron Only – it is excellent quality with long threads. (I love this saffron, and do not receive any remuneration for mentioning them.)
We love iced spiced infusions in Summer and hot, warming infusions in Winter. We call them Teas, even Herbal Teas, but there is hardly a herb in site in these, and there are no tea leaves to be found. In India, any label that includes “Tea” indicates the presence of tea leaves, so to call an infusion a tea is very confusing there. Here, we call anything that is infused and sipped a tea.
These infusions can be consumed hot or chilled over ice. As I write it is 42C here in down town outer Adelaide. We have a spice mix infusing in the large tea pot. When it is cool it will be refrigerated and served over ice in the heat of the afternoon. It might be garnished with lemon slices and lemon verbena leaves, or maybe mint leaves.
The thing about spiced infusions is that they do have Ayurvedic properties. I have listed doshas here, but if you haven’t heard of doshas, then ignore them and just enjoy the spice combinations. Please note that I am not am Ayurvedic practitioner, so if you need health advice, please consult a professional.
I collect recipes for different Ayurvedic infusions and chai – these are ones that I’ve come across recently.
Get rid of winter blues with this Spring tea.
A delicious tea that is perfect for Spring. Nicknamed CCF tea, Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea is a simple and well known Ayurvedic recipe. In Ayurveda, teas are the traditional method of delivering the medicinal effects herbs and spices to the body. They are generally made by seeping a single herb or spice, or a blend, in hot water.
CCF tea is said to be detoxifying, helpful in losing weight, and in burning up the excess of spring moisture. The wetness of Spring rains can cause runny noses and digestive mucus, including sever swelling.
CCF tea is also said to stoke your metabolism and digestive fire, restoring vitality where winter sluggishness abounds. This is something that I certainly need. It warms your circulation and clears any water retention. Its mild bitterness revs up the spring detoxification process and purifies the blood. It restores tone and tightness to swollen spring tissues. It is a soothing formula that reduces agitation and inflammation. It restores a calm clarity and spaciousness to a tense mind. How can you not drink it? This information is from Joyful Belly‘s wonderful blog full of Ayurvedic information. Begin to make CCF when the daffodils start to bloom – a sure sign that spring is approaching.
Join me as I drink this with meals every day for 2 weeks.
The season of cumquats are upon us, and not only are we able to get gorgeous ones from our local Asian Grocery, but friends who are not so kitchen-friendly as me, arrive with baskets of them.
But a conversation with a Fijian friend changed, or rather, expanded, the way we think about this tiny, semi-sour globular fruits. He related how they use cumquats like lemons, squeezing the juice into dishes that need that bit of tang. Now not only are they squeezed, we cut them in halves and nestle them into oven baked dishes, they are floated in stocks, soups and stews to infuse, we char grill them for salads, and they find their way, chopped into 2 or 4 or 6, into warm vegetable mixes.
And they are made into tea.
What a delicious infusion this is. Just cumquats, or with mint and/or other herbs added, it is a perfect mid morning or mid afternoon pick-me-up. Surprising. Wonderful.
In terms of herbs, use your favourites, and don’t be afraid to experiment with a leaf here and there. Tulsi, basil, mint, thyme, parsley. Add honey if you need a sweetener. I don’t. But some Cumquat varieties are more sour than others.
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 Persian Love Tea, Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea, Cardamom, Coriander and Fennel Herbal Tea, Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea, and Balinese Ginger and Lemongrass Tea.
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 similar Teas – Pitta Tea, and Cumin, Coriander and Fennel Tea, – both also suitable for Spring. Read The Making of Herbal Teas, and enjoy 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. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series which includes recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2005.
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 flavours with lemongrass is quintessential Balinese. This recipe from a trip to Bali 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.