All Natural Homemade Kehwa (with or without Green Tea)
“Tea or coffee?”
“I’ll take kehwa, please!”
They say you are either a tea person or a coffee person but for me, kehwa is my cuppa and no, my preference isn’t based on this common perception that it helps reduce weight or it that it has some miraculous healing powers. (Come on! Had being slim that easy, won’t we all be thin and trim? There is no short cut to fitness.) I simply find it to be light, refreshing and energizing plus I love how fragrant it is. So let me be very clear here that it isn’t a therapeutic kehwa and by no means I claim that it helps weight reduction or improve digestion or it is a cure for sore throat or flu. With that disclaimer, let us proceed.
Making such kehwa or herbal tea is a very common practice in Pakistan. It is supposed to be an ideal finish to a lavish meal and there are countless ways to make kehwa with various ingredients and techniques. Peshawari Green Tea (Qehwa) is the prime example of kehwa family and variety. People make kehwa with some aromatic spices and herbs with their own combinations and proportions and many believe that it cures common flu, sore throat and congestion. Somehow, I don’t have such beliefs and if it offends anyone, well… it isn’t intentional at all. May be it is because of that little know how about nutrition or may be the fact that I am married to a doctor. Although I must admit that such hot beverages are sure satisfying specially during winter season.
So if I don’t have “faith” in herbal tea or kehwa, why am I even sharing a recipe on the blog? Well, as I mentioned, it is simple delicious. It is so light. Oh and the aroma!! It like cleanse your palate. It has that amazing feeling of warmth and coziness. There can be thousands of ways to make homemade kehwa with many different combinations and proportions but the one I make has only three ingredients plus water, of course and it is ready within minutes.
For the basic kehwa, I boil green cardamoms, cinnamon and fennel seeds with water. Simmer for a minute or two. And that is it. Strain into cups, sweeten with honey and sip away. Yes, exactly it is just that simple, easy and quick. This is so good as is. You can also use this fragrant kehwa to steep green tea or use green tea bags. This is totally optional. If you prefer it without green tea, cool. If you like to add more character to basic green tea with this kehwa, go for it. You can even play with the proportion of the ingredients or increase or decrease or even add or subtract any but what isn’t optional in my books, is honey. Please oh please, do not substitute honey and never ever omit it from the kehwa.
This basic kehwa is great on it’s own but it would be fun to add more elements to it, right? One of the safest addition is mint. Everyone loves the aroma and the earthy feeling that is associated with mint so when kehwa is on simmer, add some mint leaves to it. I would not recommend boiling mint leaves as it may add too much color to the kehwa or make it slightly bitter.
If you prefer a ginger-y kick, add some ginger while boiling other ingredients in water and add a piece or two to the serving cup/glass if you fancy. Boiling ginger with water is safe as it won’t effect the color and it’s intensity and strength would solely depend on the amount of ginger used. For a little outside the desi-box-flavors, try apple cinnamon. Ngl it is my husband’s favorite combo, be it dessert or even hot or cold beverage. To add this autumn/winter vibe, simple put some apple peel along with a little bigger piece of cinnamon while boiling kehwa. (I do question this pairing of little-bigger in that statement). These are mere suggestions so let your imagination go wild and play with your favorite/soothing ingredients (but remember, color would vary) and do share what is your cuppa 🙂
All Natural Homemade Kehwa
Only few ingredients required to make this tasty kehwa. There are countless variations that can be added to this basic kehwa.
- basic kehwa
- 4¼ cups water
- 5-7 pods green cardamoms, slightly crushed (hari ilaichi)
- ¾ tsp fennel seeds (sounf)
- 1 inch stick of cinnamon
- honey to taste
- for variation:
- apple peel
- sliced ginger
- mint leaves
- green tea bags
In a non reactive pot, add water.
Place on medium low flame and add green cardamoms, fennel seeds and cinnamon stick.
Bring to a gentle boil.
Let boil, uncovered, for a minute or two. Color will get deeper as it boils more so if you prefer lighter color, remove from the flame right away.
Switch the flame off. Cover and let simmer for about a minute.
Strain into serving cups/glasses and serve with honey.
Apple Cinnamon Kehwa: Add apple peel to the water and add a bigger piece of cinnamon.
Ginger Kehwa: Add sliced ginger pieces to the water and boil.
Mint Kehwa: Add 10-12 mint leaves when kehwa is on simmer.
Green tea Kehwa: When kehwa is ready and poured into serving cups, steep a green tea bag. If using loose green tea leaves, add them when kehwa is on simmer.