I have not succumbed to the bug, at least not yet *touch wood*. But to ‘take precautions’, I boiled some herbal tea using chrysanthemum flowers this weekend.
In traditional chinese medicine, chrysanthemum tea is said to be a ‘medicinal’ tea which has a ‘cooling’ effect on the body, thus helping in the recovery from sore throat, cough etc. For myself, although I don’t believe in this totally, I do like chrysanthemum tea mainly because it’s a refreshing drink.
There are several varieties of chrysanthemum which can be used for making ‘tea’, and they are usually dried. This is the 杭菊 (pronouce Hang Ju), which I used.
Besides drinking the tea on its own, I also made some agar agar jelly. Agar agar is a gelatine extracted from seaweed, with similar effects to gelatine obtained from animal-by products. But its biggest advantage is that agar agar can set at room temperature, without the need for refrigeration. It is also more commonly used in Asian cooking, and as a substitute for gelatine for vegetarians/muslims.
To make these chrysanthemum tea jelly, you’ll need to make the tea first using:
40-50g dried chrysanthemum flowers, rinsed with some water
2.5 litres water
Place flowers and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and steep(leave lid slightly opened) for 30-45 mins. Turn off heat and sieve out the flowers(press on the flowers as they would have absorb some liquid). What is left behind should be a light yellow tea, about 1 to 1.5 litres
For the agar agar:
1 litre chrysanthemum tea
1 packet of agar agar powder, unflavoured (I used ‘Swallow” brand)
Sugar to taste
I just prepared the agar according to the instructions on the packet. Then I poured them into jelly moulds and left them to set overnight in the refrigerator. Just a note, I find that it is better to add slightly more sugar than required, because then the jelly would turn out just right. Mine were not sweet as I did not add enough sugar.
These jellys make a light, refreshing dessert after a heavy meal. I’m contributing them to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Rinku of Cooking in Westchester. Do head over to her place for the re-cap, and also to Kalyn’s Kitchen to find out more on WHB’s rules and who’s hosting for the week.