I am a big believer in the health benefits of ginger. I drink ginger tea daily and occasionally eat chewy ginger candies.
My everyday ginger tea is a ready-made, tea-bag tea; nothing special. When I have more time, I like to make this homemade ginger tea, saenggang cha. Saenggang cha is not just tasty, it’s also supposed to reduce congestion and aid circulation and digestion. Though it’s festive enough (in taste and appearance) to be trotted out for company, don’t feel that you need to reserve it for special occasions. It’s warming and delicious on any day of the year, particularly in the winter.
Saenggang Cha (Ginger Tea) — 생강차
- 4 oz. ginger root
- 5 jujubes (dried red dates), pitted (optional)*
- 6 c. water
- honey to taste
- ½ Tbsp. pine nuts, for garnish (optional)
- ½ Tbsp. ground cinnamon, for garnish
*You can find jujubes at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.com for $14 for a 1 lb. bag. The photos above show what jujubes look like.
- Peel and thinly slice the ginger root.
- Place the ginger, jujubes (if using) and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat then decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour mixture through a strainer, reserving the ginger. (The ginger can be brewed for a second and even a third time.)
- Sweeten the liquid with honey and pour into 4 to 6 cups.
- Garnish each cup with the pine nuts (if using) and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Serve hot.