On Friday afternoons I typically visit with my Taiji master Wang Fengming so we can train. When I arrived at his house this past Friday, my Shimu 師母 (Taiji Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang’s daughter) had just finished cooking pear tea. I’m sure I had similar tea before, but probably not freshly cooked. Before we trained we drank some, and it was fantastic. So, I thought I would make some myself and then write about it for my blog and my patients.
There are many variations of how this tea can be made, but the main idea is simply boiling fresh Asian pears with other ingredients in water and then drinking the resulting liquid. There is no actual tea leaf in this tea (and thus it has no caffeine), and in Chinese it is really called a tāng 湯 – a soup. The resulting “soup” is quite tasty, and both refreshing as well as satisfying at the same time. In my experience few modern westerners think of fruit as something you can boil to make a tea or soup, but this is a fairly common thing in China and Korea (where this type of tea is also commonly drunk). The version I made myself at home included ginger to balance the sweet of the fruit with the spicy of ginger root. It can also be made with other Chinese herbs such as Gou Qi Zi (i.e., Goji berries 枸杞子).
This tea is traditionally used to both prevent and treat colds or flus, and it also has the ability to supplement and strengthen the Spleen, but at the same time gently nourish the Yin of the Lungs. It improves appetite, benefits fluids, treats nausea, and stops coughs or sore throats. Taken hot it can induce a mild sweat.
Since when I cook I rarely use specific ingredient measurements, readers will have to make due with vague measurements…
1 medium to large Asian pear
3-5 large Chinese red dates 紅棗
medium piece of ginger
1. Wash pear and dates, peel ginger root; slice the pear into medium slices or chunks (be sure to remove the core as boiled seeds will taste bitter in the final tea), cut the dates into slices (being sure to remove the pit), and slice ginger
2. Put all ingredients into about 3 quarts of water; bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-60 minutes (longer simmer is also ok)
3. Serve warm; optionally garnish with pine nuts and serve with a slice of red date in each cup (if pine nuts are not available optionally garnish with crushed walnuts). Enjoy!