Kuzuyu: Traditional Japanese Kudzu Arrowroot Tea
Have you ever heard of “Kuzuyu (葛湯)”? Kuzuyu is a simple, sweet traditional Japanese tea made from just 3 ingredients, kudzu flour (arrowroot starch), water, and sugar. The Japanese arrowroot tea is thick, somewhat viscous, and gentle like gruel.
In Japan, Kuzuyu has been served as a beverage for sick persons for a very long time, since at least 1300 years ago. This is because the gruel-like tea is easy to digest and helps warm the body thanks to its thickness and viscosity that keeps the drink hot.
Although the Kuzuyu tea made using Japanese hon-kudzu is said to have the top quality, unfortunately at present, many products available in Japan don’t even contain kudzu flour.
Instead, as a substitute for kudzu powder, the tea bases use white potato starch or sweet potato starch.
How to Make Kuzuyu Tea
The basic making method of Kuzuyu Japanese arrowroot tea is simple and easy as follows,
- Dissolve kudzu powder (10g) in water (100cc), then filter the mixture through a tea strainer
- Heat the liquid in a small pot, stirring gently, until it becomes transparent (or translucent) and viscous
- Add your desired amount of sugar (honey or syrup) to the pot and stir well
- Pour the liquid in a cup
- Enjoy Kuzuyu!
The food material usually prepared for making Kuzuyu tea, kudzu contains various active components that condition the body and it is generally known that the arrowroot tea has the following health benefits.
- The isoflavone derivatives contained in kudzu, such as daidzein, fix hormone balance and are effective in steadying the nervous system. Especially, they have the good effects of promoting perspiration, lowering fever, and pain relief.
- As I mentioned above, Kuzuyu is thick and somewhat viscous, resulting in helping warm the body. Besides, Kuzuyu is a recommended tea when having diarrhea, for the food-like tea is digested easily and gives the body water, as well as slaking the thirst in your throat when you are feverish.
Kuzuyu tea with Arare rice crackersImage: koromoiemon.seesaa.net
Lastly, let me talk about the toppings that go well with Kudzu arrowroot tea. Some Japanese people like to drink Kuzuyu, adding grated ginger or Matcha green tea powder.
Especially, the Kuzu tea with dried powdered ginger is good in warming the body, which is why the majority of Japanese Kuzuyu tea bases contain the ginger powder.
What is more, some other people like topping Kuzuyu with small rice crackers “Arare (あられ)“.