And just as we thought there would be no respite from the long hot sweltering heat, the rains have come in and surprised us yet again. Mornings mean a few extra minutes spent tugging at the ends of the blanket while wishing the alarm would snooze itself. Everything around, even that sad patch of forced green grass between the street and the entrance to the office looks happy to be growing and puts out the most spectacular green display. Most of us will not admit it, but we secretly wish to spend as much time as we want watching the rain pelt the window panes. Many a monsoon have been romanticized by images of curling up on a comfy couch, toes tucked under, with a book in hand and sipping on a soothing hot drink and munching on something crisp and hot. The very thought of dark clouds pregnant with rain makes one want to reach out for something deep fried and sinful. There is some untold comfort in doing this.
The delight of curling up with something hot and soothing can not easily be replaced by anything else. A hot cup of tea steeped in the warming properties of spices such as ginger and lemongrass makes for a delightful and soothing drink. Tea is known to be an effective way to boost metabolism and increase mental awareness as well as strengthen the immune system. Brewed, boiled, steeped or infused, tea can be enjoyed in this season to calm and comfort.
I have coffee and tea rituals. Coffee to wake me up, most mornings even before sunrise and evenings are reserved for tea. I am a big chai fan, I drink my evening cup of tea in utmost silence, savouring its flavour and enjoying warm sips. I do like my tea slightly milky, strong and reasonably sweet. whenever I have a craving in between this morning and evening ritual, I reach out for non milky teas ~ green, flavoured, tulsi, fruity. I hoard tea bags of different kinds. Offlate though, I am enjoying my own concoctions.
Like this ginger and lemongrass tea. Ginger has well documented medicinal properties and is used in all kinds of home remedies for treating stomach ailments, coughs, inflammation of any kind, relief from nausea and combats many viruses. All of which are beneficial to remember during the rains. I have a huge patch of lemongrass that I planted last year in the little green patch of our apartment building. It has grown like Savannah grass and I miss no opportunity to use it in Thai style curries, Soups and love it in my tea. Lemongrass also has a lot of medicinal properties and like ginger is beneficial in treating stomach ailments, fever and the common cold, aches and pains and kill germs as it is a mild astringent. I for one love the aroma of fresh lemon grass and hence look for an excuse to use it.
Whatever way you choose to enjoy the rains, keep an eye out for your immune system. Drink and eat foods which are nutritious and beneficial in this weather. That curling of toes under the blanket while you watch the haze of traffic lights against a rain soaked window pane will take on a lovely note.
Ingredients (serves 2)
Water 3 cups
Tea leaves ½ teaspoon
Lemongrass 2 inch piece from near the root
Ginger 1 inch piece, sliced fine
Honey to taste
Thoroughly wash the lemon grass and ginger to remove any traces of dirt.
Slice the ginger into fine slices. Lightly crush the lemon grass with a rolling pin or the back of a heavy spoon.
Boil the water, add the tea leaves, lemon grass and ginger. Cover immediately and let it stand for 2 minutes.
Strain and pour into two glasses, add honey to taste and serve. Must be served hot.
After what seems like eons, I am sending this as an entry to Weekend Herb Blogging, an event started by Haalo and now in its 393 edition, hosted by the very lovely Siri of Cooking with Siri. Wait up for the round up on monday to see the various ways in which we use herbs in our food.