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!
Back in the day when I first started drinking coffee I would always order one with vanilla or a mocha because I really did not understand what everything else was. I have since abandoned those drinks and moved on to bigger and better ones or so I thought. Until yesterday morning when my husband brought me a vanilla cappuccino home from the shop . I fell in love with an old friend once again and wondered why I had ever stopped drinking it to begin with. Well, you all know me so I had to get in the kitchen and make my own so I can enjoy these.
One of my favorite things about all of these homemade coffee syrups is that they are natural. That being said you will want to use a real vanilla pod with this recipe. I know it does not make the prettiest picture and all that stuff does not look appetizing but real vanilla is like liquid gold and if you get rid of it you’re just crazy. Opening a pod is simple you just carefully make a slit from the top to the bottom and then I always use a chopstick to pull out the stuff from inside. The more of the beans and pod equals more of a taste and that is why you should keep both in your syrup. Regardless of what flavor you make you will always want to give it a light shake before using. And there you have it friends this is what real vanilla syrup looks like.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean
1. In a small saucepan on high heat add water, sugar and vanilla. Carefully whisk to dissolve sugar. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Allow to cool then pour into a jar, cover and refrigerate.