In Lebanon, there is an enduring tradition. When someone bears a boy, a spice pudding calledmeghliis made and distributed to all the neighbors and relatives. When my son was born, about twenty years ago, my mother went into a frenzy cooking that pudding and produced a huge vat of it. I think she probably ate the whole thing, too, as we were the only Lebanese folks for miles around. Anyway, this tea bears the same name meghli because it uses similar spices. I was not aware of it, but Chef Ramzi who toured every nook and cranny in Lebanon for his book The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon, mentions it and says that he had it in the Shouf region, which is where my ancestors came from.
This is his recipe, scaled down. It is a simple infusion of dry spices and a bit of ginger. Probably really good for you, too! The nuts that garnish the tea are similar to the ones used on the pudding.
- 4 cups of water
- sugar or honey, to taste
- 1 tablespoon anise seeds
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cloves
- 1/4 nutmeg
- 1 2-inch slice of ginger, grated
- Assorted nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, almonds and pine nuts about 2 ounces each.
- Boil some water and drop the nuts in the water for a few minutes. Peel the nuts and drain and set in the bottom of each cup.
- Heat the water for the tea. Stir the sugar in it till it dissolves.
- As soon as the water boils, add the spices, ginger and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain.
- Pour in the cups with the nuts at the bottom.
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