My face has been attacked by zits. Lot of zits. They are the consequences of eating too much sugar. The current weather also helps to multiply these little minions population very fast. So I have to seek help from one of my most favorite drinks that is the ultimate artichoke herbal tea. This tea is made from herbal plants which help to cool down body temperature in hot weather. More than that, it is naturally sweetened from these oriental herbs so I don’t need to add any sugar (which I really try to avoid). So awesome, isn’t it?
The tricky part of making this tea is you might find it a little bit difficult to buy these oriental ingredients. Even I had a hard time to find all of them and I’m living in the city that is crowded with Asian stores. So I did switch out 2 of the most hardest to find ingredients for artichoke; but don’t worry, the original flavor is still preserved. Artichoke is not included in the authentic recipe, however, it has the same health benefit of the other two and its neutral flavor could not affect much to the tea’s original taste. In the end, making drink is still cooking and sometimes we just have to work with whatever is available, right?
Other ingredients that are found in this special drink are sugar cane, pandan leaves, chrysanthemum, lo han guo (la hán quả), rhizoma imperatate or bai mao gen (rễ tranh), cilantro flower or fresh cilantro and corn silk. Remember I told you that this drink is naturally sweetened? The sweetness mostly comes from sugar cane and lo han guo, so it’s very important to always have these two ingredients in the drink. If you can not find fresh sugar cane, you can go for canned sugar cane (remember to discard the brine juice). Lo han guo and rhizoma imperatate can be bought as fresh or dry. I hope you’re lucky enough to find these in fresh forms. As for me, I was not lucky today, I can not even find dried lo han guo as well as dried imperatate (99 Ranch Market, really?). So I had to go with the third option: extract. This is your last resort, you surely can buy their extracts in Asian store at the tea isle. Rhizoma are long and thin stems that are in beige color, they are slightly sweet in taste and known as cooling food. Lo han guo is a fruit that grows on vine plant common to China and Thailand. The fruit has a dark brown color with its insides and seeds that have the same color. It has a very hard shell so most likely you have to break it open (for fresh form).
I bet you were surprised to see corn silk here. Yes, you saw it right. It was not a mistake. The next time when you buy corn, save those corn silk for your health benefit. Corn silk are the long shiny fibers at the top of an ear corn. Corn silk are usually used as medicine in oriental culture to treat congestive heart failure, diabetes, and high blood pressure. So many benefits in one simple drink, right? Then what you are waiting for, lets put down those sodas, flavor drinks, boba teas and go make this artichoke herbal drink.
Natural Sweet Artichoke Herbal Tea
- 4 quart cold water
- 1 bulb small artichoke (about 7oz), quartered
- 3 oz pandan leaves, chopped
- 2 dried or fresh Lo han guo, chopped (substitute for 2 oz extract)
- 2 oz Rhizoma Imperatate (substitue for 2 oz extract)
- 7 oz sugar cane, chopped into small pieces
- 1 oz corn silk
- 1 oz cilantro flower or fresh cilantro
- 2 oz chrysanthemum (dried or fresh)
- Dried longan (optional)
- Rock sugar (optional)
In a medium pot, bring 4 qt of water to boil. Put artichoke, pandan leaves, lo han guo, rhizoma emperatate, sugar cane, corn silk and cilantro in a pot and simmer for 45 minutes.
If you use extract form of lo han guo or rhizoma emperatate, DO NOT put them in boiling pot. Will add these at the end of the cooking process.
If you use dried chrysanthemum, bloom them in 2 cup of hot water before using.
After 45 minutes, add dried or fresh chrysanthemum and simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. At this point if you use extract form of lo han guo or rhizoma emperatate, add them in the pot. The mixture now should have a bright brown color.
Let the pot cool down for few minutes. Carefully strain liquid through fine sieve, discard all the ingredients. Taste the drink, if you want it more sweet, add rock sugar and stir until it’s dissolved completely.
Serve this herbal tea with ice. Add dried longan as garnish if desired (soak dried longan in cool water for few minutes to soften them before using). Enjoy!