An Egyptian Ramadan: Six Refreshing Beverages Enjoyed in Egypt During the Holy Month
By: Salma Heram / Arab America Contributing Writer
Around the world, millions of Muslims partake in Ramadan, the holy month of fasting in Islam. A time of spiritual revitalization and strengthening, the practice of Ramadan is also oftentimes a community effort. As such, each culture implements its own practices into the observance of the month. Furthermore, aside from avoidance of sin, since fasting from food is an important part of Ramadan, traditional dishes make their way to the suhoor and iftar tables around the world. In Egypt, where I’m from, the dishes served during Ramadan vary from everyday cultural dishes enjoyed throughout the year, to foods reserved exclusively for Ramadan and other special times.
Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of an Egyptian dining table during Ramadan is the variety of beverages offered during mealtimes. As I recall from my childhoods in Egypt, when my extended family gathered for iftar at my grandmother’s home, at least three gleaming pitchers of refreshing drinks were required to be available at all times. Read about the most prominent ones below!
This refreshing herbal tea has only four simple ingredients: dry Egyptian hibiscus leaves, sugar, water, and ice. The tartness and sweetness mix perfectly to create a cooling beverage that is sure to be popular among those that have been fasting all day!
Like karkade, tamr hindi is also quite a simple drink to make. Made from dried tamarind paste, water, and sugar, this comforting combination of sweet and sour flavors is an Egyptian Ramadan classic.
Qamar El Din
While the previous drinks were lighter and more refreshing, Qamar El Din is a smoother, thicker drink that is perfect for the end of a meal. Created by soaking and blending apricot leather with sugar and water, this comforting drink is an Egyptian Ramadan family favorite.
Perhaps the most unique of all the other Egyptian beverages enjoyed during Ramadan, Khoshaf is arguably one of the most characteristic drinks in Ramadan, as it is almost exclusively enjoyed during this time. Made by soaking dried apricot, prunes, figs, and dates in boiling water, this fruit compote is left to infuse its flavor into the liquid, then served with mixed nuts like almonds and walnuts, along with raisins and coconut shavings. While some like to enjoy this quintessential Ramadan treat with just its juice, others treat it like a dessert, enjoying the fruit and nut mixture along with the juice.
This drink is a mix of mildly sweet and slightly bitter, Erk Sous, which is made from licorice root. Aside from its unique taste, Egyptians enjoy it for its health benefits, including immune support, natural antibiotic properties, and digestive health support.
Made from carob pods, kharoub a delicious and refreshing traditional Ramadan beverage. It is also incredibly beneficial to the body. It is a powerful antioxidant, is high in fiber, calcium, and protein, and is gluten, caffeine, and fat-free. As such, it is a go-to choice for fasting Muslims to help them through the long hours of fasting. Aside from these amazing benefits, it is delicious and described by many as a cold version of hot chocolate. Carob is known to be a healthier alternative to cocoa.
Clearly, Egyptians prioritize hydration when breaking their fast! Aside from their rich, delightful flavors, these different beverages offer a plethora of health benefits. They keep Egyptians refreshed, alert, and healthy during long days of fasting.
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