Soothing with a gentle spiciness. Sipped slowly, this steaming cup of fresh ginger tea will help settle your tummy after one too many heavy dinners. Posting this recipe to start the new year is not a coincidence. I have been eating heartily over the festive period. Feasting and overindulging would be a better word. You were likely to have been doing the same though I am sure you have been more disciplined than me. I hope this recipe benefits you as much as it has helped me to soothe an overworked tummy.

For the past few years, I have been getting excellent home made mince pies from a friend who is a fantastic baker. Looking forward to and eating those mince pies is one of the key highlights of the festive season. I remember stuffing my entire face into the white box of freshly baked mince pies to inhale the heady smells of fruity, citrusy dried fruits and freshly baked buttery pastry. So, so good. Thank goodness those mince pies and I only meet once a year. Sipping a cup of ginger tea is my way of getting my internal system back to a more sustainable state of normalcy. That uncomfortable feeling that comes with overindulgence dissipates with drinking this hot tea. This is a simple recipe. It is especially comforting to drink this when the weather is cold. I wish you a happy and prosperous new year with more opportunities of delicious eating!

Scroll down to ‘Tips’ to find out about your options of sweeteners.

Ginger Tea

Prep: ~3 minutes 
Cook: ~3 minutes to have the water come to a boil
Inactive: ~15 minutes – leave it alone to boil down on medium
Level: Easy
Makes: ~1 cup
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? If you don’t mind cold tea.

Ingredients

1 (2″) (5 cm) old ginger (if not available, use new/young ginger)*
1 and 1/2 cups water
Any of the following to sweeten the tea:**
(1) Ginger syrup – this is my sweetener of choice as it enhances the taste of ginger. I use a scant 1/2 teaspoon.
(2) 3 Sugar frosted winter melon strips
(3) Rock sugar – brown/gold or white/clear
(4) Honey
(5) Brown or white sugar
(6) Sugar alternatives – erythritol, xylitol, Whey Low, stevia, etcetera.
*Scroll down to the ‘Tips’ section to find out the difference between ‘old’ and ‘new/young’ ginger. You could use more or less ginger to suit your taste. 1 (2″) (5 cm) size of ginger makes for a lighter cup of tea.
** Scroll down to the ‘Tips’ section for more information and a photograph of ginger syrup, sugar frosted winter melon strips and rock sugars. 

Method

1. Wash the ginger and scrape the skins off with a knife or a spoon. Rinse clean.
2. Smash the ginger. By far the easiest method is to use the base of the pot you will be boiling water in to smash the ginger. Why smash ginger? Grating ginger is too tedious for me and slicing will not give you the full flavour of the ginger. Moreover, smashing it saves on the washing up as well.
3. Add the smashed ginger to the pot and wipe the base of the pot clean. Add the water to the pot, bring everything to a boil on high heat and then lower heat down to medium high. It should boil down to a cup in 15 minutes.
4. Another advantage to smashing the ginger is you do not have to strain the tea unless of course there are too many little chunks. Pour everything into a cup. The large chunks of ginger usually just settles to the bottom of the cup. As the ginger chunks sits in the cup, the strength of the tea will intensify. Remove the ginger if you find it too strong for your taste.
5. Sweeten with your choice of sweeteners. I mentioned above that I prefer my ginger tea with ginger syrup. However, if you have not tried a drink flavoured with sugar frosted winter melon strips, you should. It does not alter the taste of the tea and adds a subtle sweetness.  In addition, you get to eat up the yummy winter melon strips!

Tips

How to choose ginger?
Choose gingers that are firm and plump and not shrivelled up or dry looking. Try and avoid those that have begun to sprout ginger buds. Refrigerate if you don’t intend to consume it quickly.
New/young ginger (to the left)
This is ginger not long after it has been harvested. The skin is visibly thinner and smooth. New/young ginger is used when a mellower taste of ginger is required. It is more suitable for grating as it is less fibrous and you will get more ginger juice out of it. I use new/young ginger grated or grated then squeezed for juice to add into salad dressings, sauces or marinades. Sometimes, I cut it into fine juliennes and sprinkle over a Chinese style steamed fish dish. Essentially, I choose to use new/young ginger, when I want to not only flavour a dish with ginger but eat it up too.
Old ginger (to the right)
The skin is visibly darker and thicker with a more weathered appearance. The flavour of old ginger is more pronounced and I choose to use old ginger for brewing teas. I also use it in my curries, rice pilafs or I cut a few slices and add them in quick Chinese stir-fries of meat or vegetables.

Types of Sweeteners to use?

Rock sugar
It comes in a light brown colour or clear. If it comes in larger chunks, you have to break it up with the base of a heavy duty pot or a mallet into smaller pieces. It is not as sweet as regular sugar. Easily available locally or you can buy this from an Asian grocery store.

Sugar frosted winter melon strips
The winter melon is cut into strips, boiled, drained, coated in soft sugar and then dried. The process gives these strips a nice crust of soft sugar crystals. It can be eaten on its own but more often than not it is used for sweetening. Easily available locally or you can buy this from an Asian grocery store.

Ginger syrup
I bought mine locally from the baking supplies aisle of a supermarket, right next to the raspberry and hot fudge toppings for ice cream! I have also spotted it in the drinks aisle close to other cordials. Search your supermarkets shelves for it. It should be fairly easily available.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

I would hear no end to it, if my next recipe post is not that of this well loved and popular local chocolatey drink, Milo Dinosaur. Such an apt name for a very good chocolate drink that isn’t cloyingly milky.

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