Monday, April 26, 2010

The Essential Buddha Fruit Tea

I've taken to keeping a bottle of Buddha Fruit Tea in my fridge these days after I realized how a simple tea like this can keep me in tip top condition even as I run about with my busiest of business days.

Buddha Fruit or Lo Han Guo (Momordica grosvenori) is one of those herbs I have stashed in my kitchen cupboard. It's a dried fruit, the size of a tennis ball, the colour of greenish gold. It's lightweight with a delicate taste that makes it a versatile herb used in sweet and savoury soups. (For savoury soups, you can boil Lo Han Guo with pork to cure pneumonia and cough. But it has a taste which some people cannot stomach. If you belong to the category of people who are used to drinking Lo Han Guo as a sweet tea, then stick to it.)

In the past I used to boil Lo Han Guo fruit (1 fruit per 1 - 2 liters water) with dried longan, dried red dates and dried lotus seeds. This made a good dessert when served warm or chilled.

Now I just boil 1 Lo Han Guo fruit (wash the fruit first then break it up into smaller pieces - the skin cracks open to reveal dried seeds and dried flesh) in 2 liters of water for 20 minutes on a medium fire. Once the water has turned the colour of tea, I add in 2 small pieces of brown stick sugar, which you can buy from any good Chinese herbal shop. Let it simmer for 10 minutes until the sugar melts. Then you can either drink it warm or store it in the fridge, to be drunk as regularly as you would drink water.

Here are 3 tips on choosing a good Lo Han Guo.

1. Colour - the colour of dried Lo Han Guo must be of a light greenish-gold. The skin must not be too dark. It should NOT look like black or almost black.

2. Bounce - Yes, bounce the Lo Han Guo fruit your kitchen counter top. If it bounces gently like a soft ball, it's fresh.

3. Shake - Finally, shake the Lo Han Guo fruit. You should not hear the seeds moving about inside the dried fruit. If you do, the fruit is not fresh.

Lo Han Guo helps with coughs and sore throats so everyone in the family should drink Lo Han Guo tea weekly.

It is tremendously useful for keeping lungs healthy and keeping your bowels in good shape (so it is good for those suffering from constipation).

What's more, it's also a longevity cure so more reason to make lots of this for essential daily imbibing. If you have a heaty body (due to too many late nights, or eating too much curry or fried foods) taking Lo Han Gua tea will help cool your body down.

Like I said, I've simplified the tea by just boiling it with brown sugar and the taste is just as good if not better. You can keep the tea chilled in the fridge for a week. Drink it daily and you'll never have a cold or cough problem. Plus it's safe for the whole family, from kids to adults.

And did I tell you the fruit is cheap? I get 3 Lo Han Gua fruit (medium-size, the size of small tennis balls) for RM2.
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