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Kadha, or Ukado: An Ayurvedic Spiced Tea

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Ukado, or “Ukaro”, is the Gujarati version of kadha. Kadha is an Ayurvedic tea that is frequently used to promote good health. It is an herbal concoction with a strong spicy flavor traditionally consumed for its warming and soothing qualities. This is a family recipe my mom taught me. It was a common fixture in my house growing up, especially during cold and flu season.

Why This Recipe?

A mug of ukado.

Ukado is a ancient recipe, at least 3,000 years old. There is no fixed recipe for Ukado; you can adjust the amount of spices and herbs as you please. This recipe is a good starting point if you have not made ukado before.

The flavors are meant to be intense, but you can adjust the spice levels to suit your palate or dilute its intensity for younger family members. 

If you want a natural remedy for a scratchy throat or a warming drink on a chilly afternoon, this Ukado recipe brings comfort and health.

Ingredients

Ingredients of ukado
Ingredients: honey (optional), mint (or tulsi), ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and water.
  • Fresh ginger, grated –  provides a spicy kick. Ginger is widely recognized in traditional practices for its soothing properties, which some believe are linked to its anti-inflammatory qualities.
  • Black pepper, crushed – gives a peppery flavor to the the tea, and a little heat.
  • Turmeric, optional – turmeric is less common in ukado, Turmeric is valued in many traditional recipes for what many believe to be its anti-inflammatory effects, especially when used alongside black pepper.
  • Honey or sugar, to taste (optional) – since this is meant to be a healthy beverage I prefer to go light on the honey or sugar, but it can help ease the spiciness if you are sensitive.
  • Milk, optional (for a creamier version) – can also be used to soften the spice.
  • Fresh mint or tulsi leaves, for garnish (optional) – traditional, but not needed. Tulsi adds additional anti-inflammatory benefit, and both offer a counterbalance of cooling flavors.

Equipment:

  • Saucepan
  • Mesh strainer

Preparation Steps

Boil Water: Start by boiling 2 cups of water in a saucepan.

Add Spices: Add 1 tablespoon of grated ginger and 1 teaspoon of crushed black pepper. If using, sprinkle in a pinch of turmeric.

Simmer: Allow the mixture to simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, letting the spices infuse their flavors.

Simmer the ukado.

Strain and Serve: Use a mesh strainer to pour the tea into cups. Add honey or sugar if you like it sweetened. For a less spicy version, consider adding a splash of milk.

Strain the spices out of the ukado.

Garnish and Enjoy: Garnish with fresh mint or tulsi leaves before serving to enhance the flavor.

Ukado with garnish.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Sweeteners: Adjust the sweetness with honey, sugar, or even jaggery.
  • Creaminess: Replace up to half the water for milk to reduce the spice intensity and add creaminess.
  • Herbs: Use mint or tulsi leaves as garnish for added flavor and benefits.

Health Benefits

Ukado combines a number of common Ayurvedic herbs and spices known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Although it is not my intention to make strong health claims, it is a traditional alternative to over-the-counter cold medicines.

A mug of ukado.

Ukado (Kadha): An Ayurvedic Spiced Tea

Puja
A warming Gujarati herbal tea traditionally used to soothe and comfort.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2
Calories 9 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5- inch piece of ginger roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns coarsely ground
  • 1- inch piece of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 8-10 mint leaves or tulsi
  • Honey optional, to taste
  • 2 cups water

Instructions
 

  • Roughly chop the ginger and coarsely grind the black peppercorns using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  • Add Spices: Add the chopped ginger, ground black peppercorns, cinnamon piece, and cloves to the boiling water. It is best to put them loosely in the water and sift them out later.
  • Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the spices to infuse the water.
  • Add the mint or tulsi leaves to the pan and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into your serving cups.
  • Add honey or jaggery to the cups to taste, stirring well to combine.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 9kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.03gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 41mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 8IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword herbal tea, spiced tea
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