The Arabian Nights Cookbook
Shai bil-Haal wa Qirfa
Many of the inhabitants of the Arabian Penin- sula, where cardamom is used extensively, be- lieve that this spice makes a marvelous mouth freshener. For neutralizing the smell of garlic and to freshen the breath, a few cardamom pods are slowly chewed, allowing the flavor to linger in the mouth. At times, a pod is combined with a few fennel seeds and a whole clove to create a more effective breath freshener. Sipping on this spicy Arab Gulf tea, although not quite as effective, has a similar effect. I have made this tea quite often since first being introduced to it on a visit to Dubai. It now has become an almost regular hot “digestif” at our table after a full meal and a lavish spread of sweets.
Makes six 6-oz (175-ml) servings Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
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Bring the water, tea, cinnamon stick, cardamom and fennel seed to a boil in a medium saucepan with a lid.
Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the milk and the sugar then bring to a boil again. Pour into heat-proof glasses or cups through a small strainer and serve hot.