Tea Recipes: Most tea served in Central Asia is a black tea, but here are a few recipes for special teas that are sometimes used.
Green Tea : Chai
—1 heaping teaspoon green tea leaves or two green tea bags for every 6 cups of water
—pinch of cardamom seasoning per pot
Keep water boiling until you are ready to serve your guests. Add tea leaves and cardamom to pot and pour boiling water over the tea just before serving. Steep for less than two minutes. Strain the tea as you serve.
Sweet Milk Tea:
—3 teaspoons black tea for every 4 cups water
—2 cups milk
—1/3 cup sugar
In a tea kettle or saucepan, add 3 teaspoons loose black tea to 4 cups boiling water. On medium heat stir and simmer for 5 minutes. To the simmering tea, add 2 cups milk and 1/3 cup sugar. Stir to mix. Bring the mixture to a boil. Careful! Milk tends to foam over. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes stirring frequently. Milk tea can be kept simmering on the lowest heat setting on the stove until ready to serve. Strain tea as you serve.
Apple Tea: Elma Chai
—8 oz Dried apple slices
—2 Cinnamon sticks
—4 whole cloves
—1 1/2 qt cold water
—Honey or sugar to taste
Place the apple slices, cinnamon, cloves and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes. Sweeten with honey or sugar, and strain into tea glasses, pushing gently on the apples to remove all the liquid.
Honey Crystal Almonds
—2 cups shelled almonds
—1/4 cup honey
—2 tablespoons butter
—1 cup sugar
Spread almonds in a shallow pan. Place in cold oven. Turn oven to 350 degrees F and roast, stirring occasionally, until well roasted, 12 to 20 minutes. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat honey and butter to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add almonds and simmer and stir 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer almonds to lightly greased baking sheets. Spread in a single layer and cool slightly. Toss almonds with sugar to coat.
—10 cups of flour, more or less for desired consistency
—3 cups of milk
—2 tablespoons of butter, softened
—2 tablespoons of sour cream
—4 teaspoons of dry yeast
—2 cups of water
—1 teaspoon of sugar
—1 cup of vegetable/sunflower oil
Mix together flour, milk, butter, sour cream, dry yeast, water and sugar. Knead into a ball of dough on floured surface. Divide the dough into balls the size of golf balls. Roll out the balls about 1/2 inch thick. Make 2 small slices into each rolled-out ball of dough (cake) to allow the air to go through. Pour oil into a heavy saucepan and heat on high until hot. Drop cakes into the oil one at a time and cook until one side is lightly brown. Then, flip the cake to the other side. Serve warm dusted with confectioner’s sugar or jam/jelly. Serves 10.
—The proportions can vary as to your liking.
—Salt and pepper
Chop up and mix together the following: cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and fresh cilantro. Sprinkle liberally with freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt and pepper as you like. (I use lemon pepper at times.) Serve.
—1 cup bulgur wheat
—4 cups boiling water
—1/3 cup EACH finely chopped green onions, fresh parsley
—1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint OR 2 teaspoons dried mint
—1 cup chopped tomatoes
—1/2 cup olive oil
—1/3 cup lemon juice
—1 tablespoon salt
—1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a medium bowl, place bulgur and pour water over. Stir and let stand for 45 minutes. Drain well. Add green onions, parsley, mint, tomatoes, oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well and chill. Stir again before serving. Serves 12.
Persian Rice Pilaf
—2 tablespoons butter
—1 small onion, chopped
—1/2 cup slivered almonds
—1 1/2 cups uncooked basmati rice
—1/2 cup golden raisins
—1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
—1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
—1/2 teaspoon salt
—3 cups chicken broth
In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions and almonds and sauté until onion is tender and almonds are golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in rice, raisins, turmeric cinnamon and salt. Sauté 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 6 cups.
Kaymakli Kayisi Tatlisi (Stuffed Apricots)
—250 grams/8oz. dried apricots
—1 cup water
—Juice from 1/2 lemon
—4 tablespoons sugar
—1/2 cup golden raisins
—Kaymak or clotted cream to serve
—Crushed pistachios for garnish
Soak the apricots overnight in cold water. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the water. Put the water in a pan with the apricots, lemon juice, and sugar. Boil gently for 10 minutes or until the syrup thickens, taking care not to allow the apricots to become mushy. Allow to cool, split open the apricots and stuff with a spoonful of cream. Arrange in a serving boal facing up, spoon over the syrup and sprinkle with the crushed pistachio nuts.
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