Arabic Chai Concentrate


I was in the kitchen making myself some of my favorite coffee syrup and thought hey why not some tea syrup too. Here in Riyadh tea with milk is not common, but in the UAE and Yemen it is the drink of choice. All the sudden I thought some sort of tea concentrate (you know, like the cold brew coffee) would be an awesome idea.

I added a pinch of baking soda to the mixture just like I do for my southern sweet tea which helps with the bitterness. I also started saving and cleaning my empty olive oil bottles to store all my syrups which looks so much prettier than an empty Prego jar. You really have a lot of choices when it comes to this mix and can add it to ice or hot drinks as well as coffee. Several years ago when we lived in Northern Virginia the Somalian women made this spiced coffee that I loved so much every Ramadan and this reminds me it. Plus, if you’re having guest over this really makes your job so much easier.

3 cups water
2 tablespoons loose black tea
Dash of baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 green cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons sugar

1. In a saucepan, add on medium heat, add water, sugar, tea, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and baking soda. Mix and bring to a full boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

2. Allow to cool, then carefully strain mixture into a jar.

Yields: 3 cups

Orange Blossom Popsicles


My chocolate qashta pops were so good that I could not wait to try some new recipe using qashta. Qashta is a thick cream, you can buy in the Middle East that is used in Arabic sweets or ate alone. You can find all kinds made by big brands next to the condensed and evaporated milk here in Saudi. Since qashta already has a creamy sweetened flavor, adding sugar is not nessecery. I decided to leave the flavor intact while adding a few small ingredients and wow this one ended up being my favorite yet.

2 (170 gram) cans of qashta
1/4 cups milk (I used full fat)
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
6 dates, chopped (I used dates that are half ripe and half not)

1. In a mixing bowl add, qashta, milk, orange blossom water and dates. With a hand mixer mix, well.

2. With a small spoon, carefully fill popsicle molds to the top. Place tops, then place in freezer overnight.

Yields: 6

Ajwa Al Madinah


The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “If somebody takes seven Ajwa dates in the morning, neither magic nor poison will hurt him that day.” (Sahih Bukhari: Vol 7, Book 71, Number 664)

Aisha reported Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, “The Ajwa dates of Aliya (village near Madinah) contain heating effects and these are antidote in the early morning.” (Sahih Muslim: Book 23, Number 5083)

BENEFITS OF DATES The Al Ajwa Dates are rich in minerals like Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Fiber, Proteins & Vitamins.

Because of the above hadiths I like to buy ajwa dates. I usually buy all of my dates from Al Awani Dates which is one of the largest date companies here in Saudi. Unfortantely, they are also the most expensive dates on the market. For 400 grams the ajwa is sr60 when the same size of the sukary is only sr20. Ajwa dates are dark, have lines, not too soft and are pretty sweet.