We have to stay hydrated but let’s face it, sometimes we want something more exciting than water. I’m not much of a soda drinker though so I came up with this Strawberry Lychee Lemonade. The strawberries bring the perfect sweetness, and the lychees add a read more
Barley tea, or mugicha or boricha, is a thirst quenching beverage that is enjoyed in many parts of Asian (including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China), especially during their steamy summer. It’s not really a tea, as it’s made from roasted barley grains. It has an earthy, nutty taste-a bit like coffee without the caffeine. Japanese homes will have a pitcher of this in the fridge all summer long, and kids and adults alike guzzle it all day. My nephews Aiden and Noah take it to school in their thermoses and it’s their preferred beverage. It’s not sugary like sodas and juices, so it hydrates more and is a healthier choice. This recipe makes 2 quarts and it’s super fast, so let’s get into it.
Health Benefits of Barley Tea
Besides being the ultimate summer sipper, barley tea is also prized for its numerous health benefits. Studies show barley tea can:
- improve cardiovascular health
- reduce the risk for diabetes/help control blood sugar
- aid in digestion
You can find roasted barley sold most commonly in tea bags at most Asian markets. You can also make it from loose grains of roasted barley, and I give directions for that too on the recipe card below.
There are two basic ways you can make barley tea. There’s cold brewing which just involves putting the barley tea bags in a pitcher with the water, and letting it brew in the fridge for a couple hours. It’s the most hassle free and lazy way to brew mugicha. As you can guess, this is pretty much my go-to. But you need to wait…So then there’s hot brewing. I do this when speed is of the essence:
Then I add the tea bags and the brewed tea to a pitcher with cold water so it’s ready to drink NOW (also to protect delicate pitchers from thermal shock and possible damage). If you want a more mild flavor you can leave the tea bags out. There’s really no over-brewing with mugicha. It doesn’t really get bitter or too strong. I like a robust flavor so I usually leave the bags in until the tea is done and then toss out the bags when I’m ready to make a new batch.
Refrigerate until cold, and serve over ice. Traditionally, this tea is served the way it is unsweetened, but you certainly can sweeten it with whatever you use to sweeten tea. This is a perfect afternoon pick me up, without the jitters from caffeine.
I hope this mugicha becomes a part of your summer routine like it is in our home. Give it a try and let me know what you think. You can rate and comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from you!
- 2 quarts (64 oz) water
- 2 barley tea bags
If you are using barley grains:
- 2 quarts (64 oz) water
- 1/4 cup barley grains
Hot brewing with tea bags:
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil on high heat and add the tea bags.
- Lower the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
- Fill the pitcher with 1 quart of cold water and pour the tea into the pitcher. (You can discard the tea bag first but I leave it in for a stronger flavor).
- Refrigerate until ready to drink.
Cold brewing with tea bag:
- Place the tea bag in a pitcher with 2 quarts of water.
- Refrigerate for about 2 hours and enjoy.
Brewing from barley grains:
- Pour 1 quart of water into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the barley grains to the pot and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for 5-15 minutes. The longer you simmer, the stronger the taste.
- Pour the tea through a strainer into a pitcher filled with 1 quart of cold water.
- Discard the barley grains. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Barley tea will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Keywords: mugicha, barley tea, japanese, healthy, asian drinks
Mango Lassis are one of the best ways I know to cool down on a hot day. Mango based drinks are very popular in Miami, since they are literally falling off trees all over the city at this time of year. It isn’t unusual to see generous residents leave baskets full of ripe mangos outside their home for passersby. For my Mango Lassi version, I go even more Miami and give them the mojito treatment. It’s amazing how much more refreshing lassis are with a handful of mint. If you’re in a sweltering city this week, take 5 minutes and whip up these Mango Lassi; you’ll be glad you did!
South Florida Mango Madness
We are lucky during mango season to have access to the best mangos around. Our friends at LNB Grovestand are well known throughout South Florida for all of their amazing tropical fruits-you can find them at farmers markets all over the city. And for many years, my husband participated in the Mango Festival at Fairchild Tropical Garden, which has a full weekend devoted to all things mango, including a mind blowing mango auction. Needless to say, we are very fortunate to have access to amazing mangos all summer long.
But when mangos aren’t in season, I usually rely on the canned kesar mango pulp imported from India, which you can find in most well stocked Asian markets. This is a type of mango that is exclusively grown in India, and is extremely sweet and incredibly fragrant. We use it for all mango flavored items at the restaurant and we love the consistency, flavor, and ease of this product. Just know that it’s already sweetened so you may need to decrease the amount of sugar used in the recipe.
I also really like Honey Mangos which are available regularly in grocery stores: they have a luscious texture with no fibrous threads and a bright sweet flavor. If you are using fresh mango, make sure to taste it first and sweeten accordingly.
As for frozen mangoes, I find the quality to be very uneven. Many times they have almost no flavor plus a tannic unripe taste. But if you have a reliable brand, it would work great here.
Blending the Lassis
Making Mango Lassi takes just 5 minutes! Prep the mango, juice the lime, measure out the yogurt, and strip the leaves from the mint. Then just blend it all up with some ice and you have a delicious Mango Lassi, which makes a perfect portable breakfast! (if you would like to make vegan mango lassis, just use vegan yogurt)
And with that, your Mango Lassis are ready!
These Mango Lassis are a healthy treat sure to help you cool down all summer. Make a batch tonight and see everyone’s smiles when they take a sip. For an easy, no cooking required summer meal pair them with Sardine Salad. Take a second to rate and comment on the recipe below, we love hearing from you. And show off your Mango Lassis by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen!
- 2 cups mango chunks
- 1 ½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
- Juice of one lime
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 sprigs mint
- 1 cup ice
- Strip the leaves from the mint stems and discard the stems.
- Put the mango, yogurt, lime juice, mint leaves, and sugar into the blender.
- Blend the mixture on high for 1 minute.
- Add the ice and blend for another minute.
- Pour the lassi into 4 glasses and serve.