Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Health Nectar

With Christmas approaching and thoughts of spiced drinks, I thought I could create something redolent of the holidays. Korea has a wealth of "health" tonics, herbs, twigs, and miscellany in their traditional medicines markets, and I even noticed a small package of spices in a local market. The package was intended for stuffing and cooking a chicken in Korea's fabulously popular dish 삼계탕 (samgyetang). The package had a handful of jujubes, a cinnamon stick, a root called hyanggi by the cashier (but which translates simply as perfume or scent) and then some other unidentifiable smaller twigs, seeds and roots. This looked doable for a Christmas drink, but I did add about 10 cloves, a few more jujubes, and a couple of anise stars.

Slow-cooked overnight in my crock pot, the next morning the house smelled of Christmas seasonal scents and the crockpot was full of a delightful Christmas drink. The flavors were wonderfully blended (but then how can a person go wrong with cinnamon?!) At a friend's I had made a cinnamon cake, and the drink and slice of cinnamon cake to start my morning was very much like a person enjoying a morning coffee with a donut ... except mine tasted so much better (not biased of course :)and was healthy to boot!

The Cinnamon Cake recipe was another attempt to try something "special" so I don't remember the measurements, but suffice it to say that the ingredients were: almond flour, coconut oil, eggs, heavy on the ground cinnamon, ground cloves, sea salt, and maybe that was it. I've got to work this recipe out because it deserves being repeated.

A few days later I was walking through a traditional medicines market and saw a huge bag of cinnamon sticks for ₩3,000 and imagined all the delightful spiced drinks I could have, especially since cinnamon is recognized as a top fighter against rampant bacteria. Yeah! I bought a bag and came home to make me another spiced drink to liven up a couple more cold winter nights. The ingredients were a bit different but I think I liked it a little better although it didn't have the same thick coffee-reminiscent texture. The ingredients: several cinnamon sticks, a couple handfuls of jujubes, a ginseng root, whole cloves, a star anise. Very smooth and soothing on the mucus membranes (although I question that feeling against the actual effect as cinnamon, while a fierce battler against candida, can be hard on the stomach lining).

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