besan doodh recipe

Besan Doodh: A Drink Worthy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Malala & Kailash

One thought crossed my mind every time I took a sip of the Besan Doodh. The thought overwhelmed the bold cardamom and it distracted from the warm milk tinged with saffron. A small thing, really – a sentence, again and again, bringing tears to my eyes. “I didn’t clip her wings.” These are the words of Malala Yousafzai’s father. Malala is a young woman from Pakistan – just 17 years old. She is easily the greatest superstar in the peace movement right now thanks to her unapologetic opposition to those who would keep girls from receiving an education. Though she’d been blogging for the BBC since she was 11, the whole world paid attention when she took a shot to the head on the way to school at age 15, two years ago. As of Friday, Malala is the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and the first Pakistani winner. In a nice nod to her work for children’s education, she found out about the award during chemistry class. Malala’s father was the first person to write a girl’s name on the family …

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The question is not whether I’d sing to an apple tree, but rather where I can find an apple tree to sing to. My Oklahoman neighborhood just doesn’t deliver the crimson fruit. Regardless, I will tipple this wassail with a cheer (wassail literally means “wes hail”, or good cheer)- after all in 2014 I’m learning about celebrations around the world, a suitable follow-up to completing our first adventure: eating one meal for every country in the world. January is all about wassailing. What is wassailing? Wassailing is the Southern English art – yes, art – of cooking up some of last year’s apple crop with cider – sometimes with a flush of orange peel, warm cinnamon stick, flecks of nutmeg, or maybe allspice. To make it… just… Roast some apples. Click on the burner and clank on a pot of cider and spice. In a moment, heat shimmers through the pot and those first bubbles pop the surface. Seconds later, sweet apple and spice billows through the house. The roasted apples are whipped into a froth, then stirred to …

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Sudanese Cinnamon Tea

Under the pulsing noonday sun, Tea Ladies line the streets of Sudan. They soak up what little shade they can find. Water simmers over charcoal stoves. They swirl a mishmash of ingredients through the steam, into the pot. You can pick your combination. Will it be mint? Or what about ginger? The most popular option for many patrons is cinnamon tea, a blend of black tea steeped with cinnamon sticks. Many patrons like to hold a sugar cube between the teeth while drinking to sweeten the brew. When business is good, men sit and talk at the edge of their Tea Lady’s makeshift stall. They sip her healing brews on metal chairs, a wooden box, or on their haunches. They don’t rush. They soak in the warmth. The might nibble some Zalabya, a.k.a. sugar dumplings, to go with it. Others rush by and drink on the run. When their too busy at home to make tea, this is their version of Starbucks or perhaps Dunkin Donuts. Makes 3 cups Ingredients: 3 cinnamon sticks 3 cups …

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South African Amarula Coffee

There’s nothing like a drunk elephant to get my attention. Whoa, whoa, whoa. It’ s a little early for that kind of talk. Let me back up a moment. Amarula Coffee is a South African favorite – a breezy concoction that includes your favorite coffee, some brown sugar (the sweetener of choice in South Africa), a shot or two of Amarula, and whipped cream. It’s very much like an Irish Coffee. Why? The Amarula. You can find this creamy concoction at most liquor stores in the United States, next to the Bailey’s. The flavors are quite similar, which makes this drink the perfect nod to Saint Patrick’s Day, South Africa-style. Amaurula is made from Marula fruit. Which brings me full circle, back to the drunk elephants. I’m not sure I can do it justice… so watch for yourself what happens when the elephants (and other animals) feast on the fruit of this treat. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. (The hungover orangutan is too funny) Ingredients: 3 parts brewed coffee 1 part Amarula brown sugar, to taste …

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Cocoa Tea

When I told Ava that the fine people of Saint Lucia like to wake up in the morning and drink Cocoa Tea, she squinted her eyes, titled her head, and said “what mama?” “It’s like hot cocoa,” I smiled, “but richer, and seasoned with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.” Her eyes instantly popped open in recognition and the corners of her lips curled impishly. I showed her my mound of chocolate chips and added that in Saint Lucia they use cocoa sticks and balls to make their Cocoa Tea, but we’d be making it with chips since that’s all we can get in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Don’t worry,” I added, “It’ll still taste amazing and feel completely snuggly.” Truth is, the end result is a rich, thick blanket of goodness… each sip is almost like dreaming underneath a giant bar of ooey-gooey warm chocolate. This is the kind of drink you want after a chilly walk or sledding. After a breakup. Or an engagement. It’s the exact right statement for any sentiment, in fact. A giant mug …

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Russian Tea

If you want to try something uniquely Russian (at least, I’d never heard of it until this week), try a cup of nice, black tea with a spoonful of fruit jam stirred in. Tea is the national drink of Russia, while the jam is a happy bonus. If you’re serving to more than one, be sure to brew the tea extra strong. According to Wikipedia: A notable feature of Russian tea culture is the two-step brewing process. Firstly, tea concentrate (Russian: заварка) is prepared: a quantity of dry tea sufficient for several persons is brewed in a small teapot. Then, each person pours some quantity of this concentrate into the cup and mix it with hot water; thus, one can make one’s tea as strong as one wants, according to one’s taste. Sugar, lemon, honey or jam can then be added freely. Even with the jam, a cube (or three) of sugar is optional, but recommended. So what’ll it be? Raspberry jam? What about cranberry? Or sour cherry? Whatever you choose, you’ll be well on your …

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Pakistani Coffee with Cinnamon & Cardamom

I’m not a sadist by any means, but I will take any chance I can get to make my sweet Mr Picky drink coffee. For years now, he has claimed to hate the stuff. I maintain that coffee simmered gently with milk and spices is not the same as the sludge served at the local gas station. I’ve tried making him Nauru’s “Recycled” Iced Coffee (no luck), Arabian Cardamom Coffee (no luck), and even an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, complete with popcorn (he exhibited mild curiosity but only ate the popcorn).  I’m not disappointed at my lack of success, however. I look at this as a challenge, one of the few hurdles we still have to tackle with his picky ways… I’m determined to find a winning combination that he’ll at least tolerate by the end of this Adventure (and open to any suggestions you might have). Today’s coffee, inspired by Pakistan, is a milky mixture of sweet cardamom, the most haunting whisps of cinnamon, and a lingering sweetness that is sure to bring out anyone’s smile. I …

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North African Sage n’ Green Tea

There are a few ways to keep cool in hot weather. In the west, we wear shorts, drink cold drinks, and blast the A/C. In Niger, they use a completely different set of tricks. The polar opposite, in fact. For starers, they cover up. Believe it or not, wearing long layers made of lightweight cotton keeps the sun’s hot rays off your skin. The flowing movement of the fabric acts like natural air conditioning. The elephants accomplish the same thing by dusting themselves with dirt. Not quite as desirable if you have somewhere nice to go. There’s one other trick to staying cool in Niger. Drinking hot tea. While it sounds like it’d make an already hot day feel like an inferno, it is the opposite. The hot liquid makes you perspire… and the tiny beads of sweat catch the slightest breeze, cooling you off. That’s what our tour guide in Tunisia told me, anyway (they do the same thing all over North Africa). All you do is splash hot water over green tea and… a …

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Swahili Ginger n’ Milk Tea

Whether the sun is blistering or the snow is falling, Mozambique has the answer for you. Ginger – crazy ginger tea. The beauty of this drink is in the simplicity. There’s no long list of spices, as with Indian Chai (although, goodness do I love and adore a good cup of Chai). It’s purer than that. Every mug gently cradles steeped black tea and fresh grated ginger, topped off with creamy milk and sweet spoonfuls of sugar. It’s a little bit spicy and a whole lot of comfort. Served cold, this tea makes for an incredible poolside sipper. Served hot, this tea will warm your spirit as well as your fingers during a snowy sunset. This recipe is inspired by the Swahili people of Africa, some of who live in the northern tip of Mozambique. You’ll find similar drinks all in many parts of Africa, where ginger grows easily. Typically, the drink is served hot. Here is the video that inspired the recipe: Makes 1 1/2 quarts Ingredients: 1/4 cup grated ginger (about 3 inches …

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Mongolian Millet & Green Milk Tea | Suutei Tsai

  If tea time in your home means sweet, sugary cups of deliciousness, think again. This week we’re sipping on salty, milky green tea cooked with buttery toasted millet. This is one of the more elaborate versions of Suutei Tsai – a famous Mongolian drink enjoyed out on the cold steppes. Each sip tastes of milk and salt and cereal – but the drink also has a remarkable drying effect in the mouth, thanks to a healthy dose of naturally astringent green tea. This is absolutely the strangest tea I have ever sipped. But Suutei Tsai is also delightful – it just begs to be sipped under the starlight on a frosty winter evening. Or perhaps on a chilly spring day, while watching wild horses gallop through the horizon. Everything written about Suutei Tsai claims that westerners have trouble enjoying this drink. I find, however, that if you go into it expecting hot, milky cereal you’ll be alright. In other words, don’t expect sweet tea. Just forget about sugar entirely. And pass the salt. httpv:// …

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Traditional North African Green Mint Tea

Do you have a steady hand? Can you pour tea from several feet up without shaking, spilling, or missing entirely? If so, give me a call. We’re going to need you. We’ve got some frothy tea to make. It’s going to be fun. In fact, quite possibly the most fun I’ve had on this Adventure to eat the world is when we try new teas. The effort is minimal, yet the flavor impact is huge. Today is no exception. Not only did we buckle up to try the super sweet “Morroccan-style” green mint tea served all over north Africa, but I took care to prepare it the traditional way, in small glass tea cups (available at Middle Eastern markets – 6/$6).  The trick is to cook the tea several times and pour the tea from way up high -about 2-3 feet. This creates a frothy top that looks, right after pouring, a lot like a tiny tumbler of beer. And then there’s quite possible the most important part: the chitter chatter along the way. This …

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Vanilla Ginger Bissap

Most days I drink three cups of tea. Sometimes more. Every day, at about the same time, I’m ready for my evening cup of deliciousness. Usually the sun has dipped below the horizon, lending a hazy glow to the darkening sky, and I desire little more than to sneak under a soft throw on the couch. With every sip I slip away. This is when I unwind. This is when I daydream. Even if I drink the same tea all day long, this cup tastes different. This cup is therapy. During these calm evenings, I almost always want hot tea although sometimes – in the sweaty heat of Oklahoma summers, I crave a tall glass of cold tea outside, in the warm evening breeze. Today’s recipe for bissap enjoyed in Mali (and west Africa in general), easily satisfies both those cravings. Whether hot or cold, the flavor is bright, fruity, with a punch of ginger smoothed out by a slinky splash of vanilla. We’ve made pineapple bissap before, but today’s recipe is a totally different experience – softer, more …

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