Thursday, November 19, 2009
Chrysanthemum And Chinese Date Tea 菊花紅棗茶
I think this is quite an appropriate time for me to start a leung cha 涼茶 series as the weather is heating up rather quickly here. Leung cha in Cantonese (or liang cha in mandarin) meaning "cool tea" is widely available from shops specialising in selling various types of "cool tea" and herbal tonics all across southern China (Guangdong), Hong Kong and South East Aisa. Despite being called a tea there is no tea leaves used for making it, rather different combinations of hearbs and flowers are used and often sweetened with either rock sugar or honey. They are also sold in powder form or as premixed drinks in either cans or bottles, unfortunately both are saturated with white sugar.
Different types of leung cha are made back home during the few hot and humid months that we do get in Cameron Highlands. It is also believed to have the ability to cool down our bodies and cure certain illness like cough, insomia and sore throats depending on which ingredients are used.
Having hotter days mean spending more time out in the sun and having more indulgences like drinking and eating lots of bbq food which all are believed to disturb the balance of our body. To counter the ill effects of all the above I decided I'll share some recipes for this wonder drink for the next few weeks. I am using chrysanthemum and Chinese red dates today, both easily sorced from your local Asian grocer. Try to make some after a big weekend or have some chill in the fridge on hot days, you'll be a convert in no time too.
25g of dried chrysanthemum flowers
25g of Chinese red dates, washed
25g of rock sugar
Simmer for 20 minutes, serve hot or chilled.