Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sweet Tea, Persian Style


Being such a big tea culture, Iranians have different methods of sweetening their tea. It can vary depending on the time of day or the kind of tea.

The most popular way is to use ghandsugar cubes. However, Iranians don't stir the sugar cubes in the tea. Instead, they place it in their mouth and suck on it as they take each sip. 

You can also use shekar, sugar. This kind of tea is called chai shirin, sweet tea. Even though chai shirin is usually for children, adults also drink it, but only at breakfast time (similar to the way Italians drink cappuccino only at breakfast). There is something about it's sweetness that contrasts well the with saltiness of noon panir, bread and feta cheese, that is typical for breakfast.


The white ones are noghl; the yellow ones ghandfur. 

Different types of noghl or ghandfur, kinds of confections, are also popular sweeteners. Noghl is my mom's sweetener of choice, and she always carries a little bag of them in her purse. They are used the same way as sugar cubes.


Nabaat, rock candy, is yet another kind of sweetener. Any tea is always a little more special with nabaat, but it's most popular to use with certain herbal teas or mint tea. It seems this rock candy also has some healing powers. If I ever had a stomachache, my grandmother would always make me chai nabaat. I don't know if it was really the nabaat, but I think there was something about the hot tea that always made me feel better.



Lastly, Persian tea is sometimes served with raisins, dates, or pastries. Since these things are already sweet, the tea is kept bitter. Masghati, which is pictured above, is another nice choice. It is like a hard gelatin with slivers of almonds, cardamon, rose water, and saffron. After taking a bite, you simply sip your tea.

I usually drink my tea black- no milk, lemon or sugar, but sometimes I do enjoy a nice chai nabaat. How do you like your tea? 

Pontia

4 comments:

  1. So, where is Masghati in the photo?

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow haha I had no idea Iranian chai was so diverse and complicated :O

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will become an expert very soon ;)

      Delete

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