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 think I see a smile… or is that anger?
It’s a little like looking at the Mona Lisa.
He’s such a good sport.
For the rest of us, this drink is a real treat. Pakistanis prepare this fragrant coffee in large pots, constantly stirring and pouring from up high to create a frothy mixture. It’s a sociable activity – one that can be found throughout the local shops – and one that clicks through the rhythms of the day.
Adapted from Laura Kelly at Silk Road Gourmet, where she’s on a journey through the cuisines, histories and cultures of the more than thirty countries that traded goods along that great lifeline of the ancient world.
3 cups water
3 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, cracked
sugar, to taste
3 Tbsp coffee
Crack open a few cardamom pods and toss them in a large pot, along with…
… dark roast coffee, a cinnamon stick, milk, and some water. You can add the sugar now, too (that’s what I did), or you can let your guests add their own.
Simmer for ten minutes. Ladle the liquid as it bubbles and bobs, pouring from up high to aerate the coffee mixture. Do this about twenty times.
Actually do it about a hundred and twelve times. Each time the mixture will get a little frothier. It’s a great thing to do when you have a problem to work out. Someone to think about. A little stress to sort – that’s real life.
The easy, repetitive motion is soothing the way a gentle breeze soothes in the spring.
While the frothy coffee shimmers and bubbles, daydream your way to Pakistan.
Perhaps you’d like to join me for a hike through the Shaksgam Valley while the sun bobs and weaves through the cloudy sky, scattering shadows on the valley floor.
When your feet are tired and your spirits high… find your way home again. Strain the milky mixture and transfer to a pretty coffee pot.
Pour into cups and serve with a cinnamon stick (to amp up the cute factor).
Here, come a little closer. Sip those bubbles before they pop!
Savor slowly on the edge of the horizon, where the sand meets the sparkle.
Enjoy your weekend.