A latte is a drink that has more milk than the other half (coffee, tea, etc). I thought it would be fun to make a latte out of a popular Arabic tea. Chai karak is a popular drink in the Gulf however not here in Riyadh. I am not sure if some other areas (like the eastern region) drink it or not. Some of my Saudi readers please let us know.
First, I made a strong tea mix since we will be using a lot of milk in the recipe. I used 1/2 cup of boiling water per bag (you can use loose). Make sure you only use black tea and nothing like earl gray. Saudis and well other Arabs make tea with black tea only. Warming the milk helps steep the spices and brings out more flavor and also dissolves the sugar, a must. This drink is so delicious and you may just forget about coffee.
2 black tea bags
1 cup milk
1 cup boiling water
5 green cardamom pods
Pinch saffron strings
Sugar, to taste
1. In a cup add hot water and tea bags. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile on medium heat in a small saucepan add milk, cardamom pods, saffron and sugar. Mix well until sugar is dissolved them remove pan from heat.
2. Divide the tea mixture into two cups. Remove the cardamom pods from the milk mixture then use a blender or frother to make milk froth. You can also put it in a tightly sealed jar and shake like crazy.
3. Divide the spiced froth in half into each of the mugs.
Yields: 2 servings
This recipe is pretty much the standard recipe served throughout Gulf homes for dinner. The light flavors of popular Arabic spices mixed with a bit of tomato make for a perfect fragrant rice. During Ramadan rice is often ate for suhoor. I have found that most Muslims in the West tend to eat breakfast foods at that time while Muslims in the Middle East rely on foods that one eat for dinner such as rice, soups and samboosas to make sure everyone is full for the entire day.
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 white onion, diced
3/4 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup basmati rice, washed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 chicken bouillon cube
pinch ground cardamom
pinch ground cumin
pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 garlic clove, smashed
1. In a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat add oil, onion and garlic. Allow to cook until tender about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste, salt, rice, cardamom, cumin and cinnamon. Stir allow to cook for 3 minutes.
3. Add water and chicken cube. Stir well making sure chicken cube is dissolved. Bring to a full boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes then take off heat and allow to steam for a remaining 10 minutes. (Never remove lid).
4. Fluff with a fork and place onto a serving plate.
Yields: 3 servings
Over the years I have had so many requests for Arabic pita bread but never got around to posting the recipe. My mammaw gave me a homemade cookbook when I got married and it contained this recipe and has since been the only pita bread recipe that I have ever used. Why change a good thing right? Since moving to the Middle East I have not made homemade pita bread. It’s freshly made here at
all times and even hot when you get it and did I mention dirt cheap. It’s about 1 riyal for a big pack which is around a quarter and if you order food from anywhere, they just give you packs for free.
Arabian Gulf Pudding is a tantalizing dessert served throughout the Gulf Countries. Plump sukary dates, freshly ground cardamom and fragrant rosewater make this little dish burst with traditional flavors.