What is Bael Fruit Tea and what is it good for?

This is another post about a Thai specialty, called Matoom. It’s a medicinal herbal tea made with dried Bael Fruit. It’s really good for your tummy and digestion when you’ve eaten too much! The smell is very aromatic and naturally refreshing and a bit sweet.
If you are a lover of herbal teas like lemongrass, ginger, rooibos or peppermint, then you’ll love bael fruit tea. It doesn’t have the tangy quality of green tea or stronger infusions, it’s actually a really nice subtle and fragrant flavor that you will fall in love with.

How we discovered it

One day while living in Luang Prabang, Laos while shopping for some ginger tea, I came across a bag of a sugary powder with an image of dried fruit and a refreshing glass printed on the front. I took it home and we all fall in love with the flavor of it.
I wasn’t exactly sure what it was until I saw the actual dried fruit in the market, recognized it from the bag and asked the ladies what it was called. They told me it was called “matoom” and that I had to boil it like herbal tea and that it was good for my tummy. All through sign language and no English of course. Through lots of laughing and smiles, they explained that it could also be cooked along with a little stevia or sugar, or even lemongrass for a blend of flavors.

What is Matoom?

Basically, Matoom is a fruit. It’s dried in slices in the sun to later use for making herbal tea. The fruit is called bael fruit and when it’s fresh on the tree it looks a lot like a wood apple. Technically, the bael fruit and the wood apple are not the same thing, they just look a lot alike. Also, the wood apple has a very pungent flavor that the bael fruit doesn’t have.
In Thai, bael fruit tea is called “matoom.” You can drink it warm or cold and it’s nice either way. It has digestive properties and sits well after a huge meal. Apart from the naturally dried slices, you can also get tea bags or instant tea powder.

How to prepare bael fruit tea

The classic way of preparing bael fruit tea is to boil the dried fruit with the rind for a few minutes. You can add some sugar or stevia leaves to make it sweeter. You can get the dried bael fruit online or in your local Asian market.
For a liter of water, use about 8 or 10 dry rinds. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes and pass through a sieve. Add your favorite sweetener, brown sugar or coconut sugar are best.
Sip it warm or pour over ice.