Mamanushka, it turns out has a penchant for fragrant drinks. We’ve had Saffron Kahwa from Kashmir, Orange Blossom Date Cooler from Fez, age old Ayurvedic Turmeric Milk , the ever so English Elderflower Cordial, and Home-made Strawberry Syrup shake. So when my friend Hafsa served us some Somali Shaa at a get-together, I knew at first sip that I had to share this magic with you.
Nowadays, no girlfriends gathering is complete without a kettle each of Saffron Kehwa and Somali Shaa. Seriously it’s so cute. If teas could be people these two would be sisters for sure.
Whereas the Saffron Kehwa is a light refreshing tea – The Somali Shaa is darker, with a subtle kick to it. I like to think of it as Somali Shaa being Kashmiri Kehwa’s older, wiser, more experienced confidante.
The ginger and mint and cloves, cardamom and cinnamon combo should be a perfume. I’ve made this tea countless times and each time I savour the fragrance trying to figure out how I could describe it to you guys because it is a delicious blend of warm sugary ginger and aromatic spices.
Evocative of old school tea-houses – you can sit back and imagine you’re right in the middle of a vintage tea house in a bustling souk. It’s just got those vibes which makes it a perfect festive offering. So go ahead and put this straight on your list of celebratory drinks. Whether you are celebrating Eid or Ramadan or whether you are celebrating a quiet hour while the kids are (finally!) asleep and everything in between!
I’ve been told you can add milk but make sure to try it without first. This is how my friend Hafsa’s mom makes it and trust me, you will love it.
This method is for approximately 4 servings. Tea should always be brewed with fresh cold water so start by pouring the water into a pot. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, and the green cardamom pods. Bring to a boil on high heat and let it boil for five minutes. After five minutes steep the ginger and mint leaves into the bubbling water and keep on a high/medium heat for approximately eight minutes.
After eight minutes, add your choice of tea, turn the heat up high and continue to let it boil for two more minutes. I have used Earl grey and Assam tea in the past but you can use any tea you like or none at all.
Now is the time to add the sweetness. I know we like to keep the sugar to a minimum but let’s all agree to not skimp on it this time! If you want to avoid white sugar try a natural alternative like honey, agave nectar or coconut sugar. Don’t add less than 4 teaspoons and then test for taste. You might even add a couple more! Oh, and if you’re going with honey, turn the heat off and add honey to the tea just before serving. Inhale the aroma. Relax. Enjoy your Somali Shaa.