February 22, 2012

Cardamon Tea from Throne of the Crescent Moon

He took a second-to-last slurp of tea, savoring all of the subtle spices that Yehyeh layered beneath the cardamom.
                             --Throne of the Crescent Moon, Chapter One

Throne of the Crescent Moon, by Saladin Ahmed, recently came out.  I had a blast reading this book.  The cardamom tea here sounded lovely...so I heated up the stove and opened my spice cupboard.

Cardamon Tea

2 tablespoons green cardamon pods
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 small stick cinnamon
Sugar or honey, to taste.

Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottom pan and toast over medium-low heat until fragrant.   You don't need to be precise about measuring -- I know some people like concrete numbers, so I included them.  It works just as well to throw in pinches of everything, and extra of the cardamon.  Toasting the spices took about ten minutes on my stove.  Cast iron is good at this -- it distributes heat evenly.

Toss the toasted ingredients into about 4 cups of nearly-boiling water.  Let it steep for at least twenty minutes.  Though, really, you could just throw it in the fridge and forget about it until tomorrow.  

Strain, then sweeten to taste with honey or sugar.  My husband likes it unsweetened, but I think a touch of honey actually brings out the flavors.

Simple, but delicious.  And my house gets to smell like cardamon. 

*As a side note, none of these spices should be expensive.  Bulk food bins, the Hispanic foods aisle, and ethnic food markets all have these for cheap where I live.


  1. How could you read this book and not want to try this tea?! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It's always nice to know when posts are reaching the right people. :)

  3. Looks delicious. Now, if you do put it in the fridge overnight, would you reheat it or serve it chilled?

  4. Whatever you like -- either way works great!

  5. I'm apt to try this later today... I commented to Saladin on FB that I think that grains of paradise might be a good addition. Thoughts?

    Oh, and also: I think everything would benefit from a little crushing initially, no?

  6. I don't have a lot of experience with grains of paradise, but I think they'd work great! You could toss them in or substitute some/all of the black pepper.

    I hadn't even though of crushing the spices -- all the tea recipes I'm familiar with don't. You're probably want to toast first, then crush. From what Google can tell me, crushing the spices will give you stronger flavors, but I suppose it would be easy to dilute to taste if it's more spice than you like.

    Good luck! And thanks for commenting -- I'd be interested to hear how the grains of paradise work out.

    1. Okay, I think I used far too much water. Not rocked. Am currently tasting a two-bag brew of 1 Celestial Seasonings' Bengal Spice + 1 "regular tea" bag, plus some honey. Smells like more what I have in mind; of course, it is to be remembered that I prefer my cardamom tea iced. I'm trying this as a hot vs. just because I'm odd that way.