Clothes decorated with jade rings and beautiful dimples,
it’s infinitely elegant and quiet in the wind.
That’s a line from the poem Jasmine, by Liu Yong. The word jasmine never shows up in the body of the poem, but it expresses the poet’s insight into the flower’s essence. Liu Yong’s poem mentions the earliest scenting technique for making jasmine tea in ancient times: “Soak in water, all passion turns into a secret fragrance flowing at the bottom of the cup.”
Eight Treatises on Following the Principles of Life shares a wonderful way to make jasmine tea. Cultivate a jasmine plant in a clay pot and wait for it to bud. When it blossoms, pluck the flowers and put them in a bowl. Apply white honey to the centre of another bowl, then put the honey bowl upside down onto the flower bowl. Leave it for about half a day, then pour water into the honey bowl to make tea, and it will be incredibly fragrant.
Jasmine is not only elegant and fragrant, but also has the effect of regulating qi and alleviating depression. It can relieve headaches and gastrointestinal discomforts caused by colds, soothe the nervous system, and promote weight loss.
Jasmine Tofu (serves two):
½ cup dried jasmine
450g firm tofu
1½ teaspoons honey
3 teaspoons soy sauce seasoned for seafood
1 teaspoon chili oil
Put ¼ cup dried jasmine and 2 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and add to the pot. Return to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for an hour.
Boil ¼ cup dried jasmine and 1 cup water for 5 minutes and strain. Add the honey, soy sauce, and chili oil. Put the tofu cubes into the sauce. Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.