Yesterday I went on a tea market tour and was slightly “high” after all fabulous teas we tasted. To decaffeinate myself a bit , I’ve decided to launch a new series of posts. I’m going to call it Caffeine-Free Mondays and here I’ll be writing about all those fruits, buds, petals, seeds and herbs that can also go into a cup of hot water and make superb tisanes and “fruisanes”. There will be recipes I’ve found in cookbooks, as well as my own inspiration.
To kick it off, I’ve picked one of my preferred recipes I found in Ching-He Huang’s “Chinese Food Made Easy” cookbook. It is a tisane made of dried goji berries, jujubes and rose buds.
Goji berry, or Chinese wolfberry, 枸杞 gǒuqǐ, is very popular for its good looks and medicinal properties. These little berried size of a raisin are often added not only to tisanes, but also to soups or stews for a dash of color. They are believed to be a great antioxydant, capable to remedy chronic coughs and to enhance Yin energy. Jujube, or Chinese date, 枣 zǎo, can calm down a bad cough, but also a bad mood – it’s an excellent stress fighter. Jujubes can serve as a tea snack in its own right. Both goji berry and jujube have sweet taste, so no extra sugar is needed. Well, if you really have a sweet tooth, add some rock sugar or honey.
In Beijing, all these ingredients can be easily found either with the spice girls at the fruit and vegetable markets, or at any supermarket. This tisane can be a great finishing touch for a meal and even replace a dessert.
Recommended preparation method: Use a glass teapot. Take 2 tablespoons dried goji berries, 6 dried jujubes, 6 dried rose buds. A 3 cm cube of rock sugar or 2 teaspoonful of honey are optional. Place everything in a teapot, pour hot water over and stir well. Leave to infuse for 1 minute, then serve.
Recommended food pairing: this tisane is just as good without any food. But if you insist, get some nice rose gelato from your favorite gelateria. And do not hesitate to pick jujubes and wolfberries from the pot, infused they are even better than dried…