When I first came to Saudi I was offered tea by my mother in law. It was a new taste that I had never had before and I absolutely loved it. Later that evening before we left she handed me a large box filled with a dried herb and explained that it was habek and how I would go about making the tea myself at home. Habek is the Saudis favorite way to serve tea, and if you have had the pleasure of trying it then you know why.
Throughout the Warm months you will find fresh habek in all the grocery stores. And so they can have it all year around the women always dry a big batch to last. I am sure you’re wondering what in the heck habek is to begin with. Well, so was I so a few years ago. I did tons of research until I discovered what it was. If you ask a Saudi what the name is in English they will have no idea not even those who speak fluently. Everyone just knows it as habek. I found out that the English names are in fact horse mint or wild mint.
The herb looks a lot different from fresh mint. It has a lighter color and the leaves are tall and skinny. You make it the same way as you would mint tea (another Saudi favorite) and you dry it the same as well. I have never heard of this being sold anywhere else but I am sure you could grow it in your home. My mom grows all kinds of various mint back home (pineapple, chocolate, etc.). Hey, I had no idea mint came in all of those flavors as well until my mom introduced them to me. She says mint grows very easy, fast and all over the place. Aren’t these teacups so pretty? They match my Dullah set that I got from Aura!
4 black tea bags
4 cups water
1 bunch of habek mint, cleaned or 2 teaspoons dried
sugar to taste
1. Pour cold water in a tea kettle on high heat cook until boiling. Place habek and tea bags into water and steep for 5 minutes.
Yields: 4-6 cups
*updated from 9/14/10