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
Growing up in the South black tea was part of my daily routine. We all make sweet tea with Lipton black tea bags. When I got a bit older I always would buy Celestial Seasonings tea bags and have a cup before I went to bed. When I met my husband, he told me that he wanted to make me some tea the way they drink it in Saudi and later on he came out with a cup of mint tea that I fell in love with. Seriously still to this day I make me a cup at the end of the day.
Before moving to Saudi I had never used loose tea before, since it is not that popular in the states not a lot of places sell it that way. We Americans like to do things the easy way so tea bags just worked. My mother in law and every other Saudi uses loose tea to make the daily tea and she taught me how to do it the same way. At first I was reluctant since I had never used it and was afraid I would use too much or too less, but now after using loose tea for years I could never go back to the bags.
After researching a bit about tea, I learned that they put all the leftover junk into the tea bags so you’re not getting good quality like you would with loose tea. The two most popular teas here in Saudi are Lipton and Rabea tea. For the longest time I used Lipton since it was what I was used to, but from what I see most Saudis prefer Rabea even my mother in law. I bought a few boxes of loose tea and the difference was quite noticeable as you see. Rabea is high quality for sure and my favorite. I will be using it from now on.
About a year ago I bought an electric kettle and it’s the best thing ever. I suggest if you do not have one to run out an get one soon. They make things so much simpler in the kitchen, and they also make great tea. You will need 1 teaspoon of loose black tea per every 8 ounces of water. I use an iron teapot that my mammaw bought me years ago and it has a tea sieve that fits into it. So all I have to do is add tea and mint if I’m using it and then pour hot water on the top and allow to steep. Some people say to steep black tea for only a few minutes, but I always go with 5 since I like mine stronger.
If you’re curious about steeping other teas here is a chart and a few golden tea rules.
I am not sure why I have never shared one of my favorite Saudi snacks with you all, but since it’s almost Ramadan I thought I would share it with you all. Before moving to Saudi I had never tried that many dates little on things that paired well with them. The first time I had the pleasure of trying dates dipped in tahini was at the Jandiriyah festival the first year I was in Saudi. They had an area from the Mecca region with all sorts of dates for sale and a tahini fountain to dip, so you could try before you buy. I was hooked as soon as I bit into it!
Saudi families always serve a small bowl of tahini with a bowl of dates and a dullah of Saudi Qahwa. They use all sorts of dates so go ahead and use your favorite type. For me, it’s sukary of course. You can make my Saudi qahwa recipe here. If you can not find Saudi coffee where you live then you’re in luck and can order from Arabian Coffees or just buy some already made Nescafe Arabiana.
Thinking of Nescafe Arabiana they have a promotion out right now here in Riyadh where you buy a box of the coffee and it comes two cute little fenjans. My son and I thought one looked just like my husband. I hope to collect all of them. Also, I have meant to show you all some gifts that the people from Nescafe sent me after they saw my last post on their coffee. It was such a kind gesture and I really appreciated it.
By the way, check me out over at Saudi Female Bloggers today!