This milky Moroccan chai called kandra comes from around Sidi Ifni, an isolated fishing town in the southern Anti-Atlas mountains. The complexly flavored drink is made with gunpowder green tea and savory oregano, lavender, and aniseed for their heady aromas. A tear of reddish brown gum arabic gives the tea a silky viscosity. I was introduced to the special tea by Malika Essaidi while hanging around Sidi Ifni one winter, and it remains for me a perfect winter brew.
MILKY TEA WITH OREGANO, ANISEED, AND LAVENDER kandra SERVES 2
Heaped 3 tsp loose-leaf gunpowder green tea Generous 1 Tbsp dried oregano or zaâtar (see page 48) 1⁄2 tsp dried lavender 1⁄2 tsp aniseed 11⁄2 cups/360 ml milk 11⁄2 Tbsp sugar, plus more if needed 1 tear gum arabic (see page 50) In a small flameproof teapot or saucepan, place the tea leaves. In a kettle or saucepan, bring B⁄c cup/120 ml water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves. Swirl the teapot for 5 seconds and pour out all the water, using a strainer if needed to ensure that none of the tea leaves escapes.
Add the oregano, lavender, and aniseed to the teapot and pour in the milk. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, about 6 minutes, watching that it does not boil over. Remove from the heat and add the sugar and gum arabic. Pour a glass of tea and return it to the pot. Repeat two or three times to dissolve the sugar and blend the flavors. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar if necessary or steeping the tea a bit longer to make stronger. Pour into glasses through a strainer and serve.
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