Saturday, February 20, 2010

Turmeric/Ginger Tea

Since turmeric and green tea have been found to be extraordinarily healthful in several ways, I'm looking for new ways to consume them. Here's a recipe for turmeric/ginger tea courtesy of Vaughn Tan. It's more of a loose suggestion than a recipe, so feel free to play widely with the proportions:

Makes 2 large mugs.

1 one inch piece of turmeric root, peeled for a cleaner flavor (otherwise unpeeled)
10-15 green cardamom seeds (not pods)
1 pinch whole aniseed
1 clove
1 inch piece of root ginger (about 3/4 inch diameter)
1 teaspoon green (unfermented) assam tea (here's an inexpensive source). Chinese and Japanese green teas won't work as well, because you want a light, astringent tea. In a pinch, a light Darjeeling works, too..

Bring water to boil. Thoroughly crush turmeric and ginger with the flat of a heavy knife or the base of a water glass, then chop roughly. Crush cardamom and aniseed. Leave clove intact unless you really love the flavour of cloves.

Place everything, along with the tea leaves, into a brewing basket or infuser in a mug. When water is at a rolling boil, pour into mug and allow to infuse for more than three minutes.

This will brew at least 3 mugs of tea, after which the turmeric and green tea will have to be refreshed (another 1/2 inch piece of turmeric and a pinch of tea leaves for every 2 additional mugs).

Note: green tea is also purported to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, like the curcumin in turmeric. Also, turmeric's yellow pigment is where the healthy stuff is, so the yellower your brew, the better!

You can use turmeric powder (a couple of shakes, up to 1/4 teaspoon) as a quick and dirty substitute. The taste is different, mustier even than root turmeric, but you get tons of pigment extraction. The resulting infusion is the colour of marigolds.

Another note: when I asked Vaughn about the instruction to use boiling water (usually a no-no with green tea), he replied that "I think you could brew this at a lower temperature, but then the cardamom flavor won't come out as much. I used to infuse the spices in the boiling water for a bit and then add the tea afterwards, but it didn't make enough of a difference to me to warrant the extra hassle. Also, I think more antioxidants are extracted if you brew at a higher temperature.


joshi said...

warm milk + turmeric is a standard pick me up/sore throat remedy for us maharastrians fyi.

Jim Leff said...

Turmeric powder or root?

I'm having a hell of a time sourcing turmeric root, btw (apart from the big Indian markets in J.H.).

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