Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging #14: Chrysanthemum

This is going to be a short post from me. Pardon my lack of writing but it is due to me buried in my final year project. Yes, this dear “tham jiak” girl is in her last semester now, with her major project due soon. I am going to graduate in May and till then, it would be busy months for me. Yet, I cannot say that I would have more leisure when I work, so I have been warned. Nonetheless, I am excited to join the new phase of life soon.

For now, I am posting for the Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by our lovely Kalyn. I will be introducing a wonderful herb named Chrysanthemum.

It is used in many sweet drinks and ‘tong sui’ in our Chinese cuisine. When boiled, it would be known as Chrysanthemum tea. Since young I have been told that it is good for health. It is particular known for it's cooling properties.

There is a lovely Chinese history(or rather, legend) behind this wonderful herb; I’m quoting from Flowers and Plants Association:

The Chinese legend tells the story of an elderly emperor who had heard about a magic herb that would give him eternal youth. This herb was said to grow on Dragonfly Island and could only be picked by young people. The elderly emperor therefore sent twenty-four children on what proved to be a long and hazardous journey. Much to their dismay, when they finally arrived at the island they found it totally deserted. There was no sign of the magic herb. All they found was a flower - the golden chrysanthemum, which today still symbolises the Chinese people's ties with their country. Later Mao Tse Tung replaced the imperial golden yellow with the red of the People’s Republic.

There is also a Japanese version of history in the site if you are interested.

Now let’s go brew yourself some healthy drink.

Chrysanthemum Ginseng Tail Drink
Source: Kitchen Capers

Ginseng tail is a type of Chinese herbs. If I am not mistaken, it is the tail part of the ginseng root. It is known as “yang seng xu’ in Chinese. This herb is known for its cooling properties. It gives the drink a type of ‘kam’ (golden) taste. Pretty hard for me to explain this taste as only Chinese could identify to it; like how my Ah Ma always says it that way. Feel free to omit it and you will still have a lovely healthy drink.

75g Dried Chrysanthemum Flowers
25g Ginseng Tail
2000ml water
Rock Sugar to taste

Blanch Chrysanthemum and Ginseng separately with boiling water.
Boil water and add in Ginseng. Boil for 5 minutes.
Add in Chrysanthemum. Boil for another 5 minutes.
Add in Rock Sugar and taste.
Remove from fire and cover for 10 minutes before serving.


Kalyn said...

Very interesting. I have this flower in my garden, but I had no idea that it could be used to make tea.

Congratulations on getting close to the end of your studies!

rokh said...

kalyn, then you should all the more try out the drink. thanks, but i dread working!

MisSmall said...

Does the drink turn a bit sour'ish if you boil the chrysanthemum instead of just putting them into boiling water and cover? Or is it just me?

rokh said...

i did note some sourish taste after long time soaking. so i guess its best to consume it fast. with the ginseng, then you would taste the golden taste more

Mark said...

I had brew the drinks into wine. Interesting herbs.

rokh said...

mark, wine, mm, interesting too!

gina said...

rachel, important thing to note about brewing Chrysanthemum..don't over do it. It will turn Bitter. Also, there are different grades of Chrysanthemum flowers. Like Ginseng too got different grades. You can also use it for cooking (stir fries with vegetables). Think I'll do one for tomorrow's lunch and post the recipe online. I have a recipe at KC that uses it with Honey and it cures your worst sore throat after 2 days of just consuming that alone.

Paz said...

Very interesting. I love to read about legends, too. Best wishes for a successful ending with school.


Tazz said...

Interesting legends! :)

Liz said...

One of my favourite teas! It's also delicious chilled. Lovely post - thanks!

*kel said...

hi rokh, looks like this tea might do a good job of taming your final sem fever! Thanks for the details you put into all the posts. And if you are interested, we could cross-link our sites. Let me know, and to answer your question, I was born in Batu Pahat, in the southern-most state.

rokh said...

gina, your idea sounds very interesting, looking forward to your recipe!

paz and tazz, yea legends are really fun sometimes

squeezeweasel, i like it chilled too.

kel, that would be great!

babe_kl said...

i just made this 2 days back and i've added one loh hon guo

rokh said...

babe, loh hon guo. why haven't i thought of that?

Anonymous said...

I made it with extra ingredients. :) Beside the Chrysanthemum Flowers and Ginseng Tail, Add in some red dates (jujube), wolf berries and winter melon bits. It would make up similar to "eight treasure tea".

rokh said...

anonymous, sounds like good idea! 'eight treasure tea', i shall try it someday

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