Jahe Wangi: Instant Ginger Tea from Indonesia

Every time I go to the Chinese grocery, I like to pick up one new thing. It's a little scary, sometimes, picking up bags or cans of completely mysterious ingredients, or long vegetables that don't look precisely like anything I've ever cooked. But it can be very rewarding, too. My latest find came while I was prowling a new Asian market down the street. I found this box of "Instant Ginger Tea." Wow - I love ginger tea, I thought. I'll give it a try!

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The box was much heavier than an ordinary box of tea, and I could hear packets slithering around inside. When I got home, I inspected the little foil packets. Each of them was full of a crunchy, rather heavy substance. The ingredients, it turned out, included only powdered ginger, cane sugar, and "herbs."

I mixed it up with some boiling water and took a tentative sip. It was delicious!

It is quite sweet, with a very strong ginger flavor that warms you as it goes down. In fact, it has a lingering spiciness that builds as you drink the tea. If you like fresh ginger, you'd probably really like this.

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I did a little searching around, and it turns out that jahe wangi is a traditional Indonesian drink, and it's often used to ward off colds and fevers. It's quite delicious, and even though I do think it's a little too sweet, squeezing in some lemon helps balance it out. It probably won't replace my fresh ginger tea in the winter, but it's a good alternate. It could make a wonderful iced tea, too - even a cocktail, perhaps?

Anyone else tried this?

Buy it: Jahe Wangi, $3.25 at Dutch Variety Foods

Related: Recipe: Flu Season Ginger Honey Lemon Tonic

(Images: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.