Lemon, Honey and Galangal

Kadek’s Tea

There is nothing soothing or comforting about this glass of hot tea.  The first sensation is sweet and lemony but then the ginger assaults the back of your throat and an instant later your mouth is prickly with all your taste buds zinging.  I’m  back in Ubud and the competent  hands of Kadek who knows all the right words and local remedies to soothe you back to health.

My nose started tickling in Singapore (we were there trying, unsuccessfully, to get a 6 month visa for India), and I just thought the fine air-bourne pollution was making me sneeze.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and as we left Singapore and moved on to Yogyakarta in Java, I knew I had succumbed to  the dreaded cold.  Being sick and on the road brings up a wide range of feelings –  from wishing you were home with a soft pillow and plenty of good books and movies, to longing for a bowl of Mum’s chicken soup.

Yogyakarta (aka Yogya or Jogja) is the cultural and artistic center of Indonesia, boasts the Sultan’s Palace and Kraton, batik and shadow puppets, the Indonesian Institute of the Art (ISI), Borobudur and the rumbling Mt Merapi which seems to be on the verge of erupting again. As I explored the city with a very foggy head, Jorge took full advantage of Jogja and future posts will highlight what he discovered in this dynamic city of contrasts between the ancient and the very contemporary.

Back to Kadek and her cures.  The galangal is similar to fresh ginger but much, much more pungent.  After Kadek has scrubbed off the dirt she grates a large hunk (1″ x 2″) along with the skin into a bowl and adds a little hot water.  This is steeped for about 45 seconds, strained into a glass along with the juice of 1/4 lemon and a TBS honey.  Hot water is added to fill the glass.  The grated galangal can be used a second time but is allowed to steep a little longer (this explains why some glasses of this elixir were stronger than others). Within hours my hacking cough became a little softer and my fuzzy head a little clearer.

I’m ready to write some new posts, get out with the cameras again and oh yes, find out more about jamu -one of which just cured me!

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