Once you have sat around an Iranian cuisine table or a flower-patterned table-cloth on the ground as most of the Iranians do, the question that pops into the mind of a newly comer is what drinks should accompany these pungent dishes of flavors? What would you drink with Kabob or Dizi? Or in general, what are the all-time favorite traditional drinks of Iran? What is the perfect mate for cold and rainy days? Or the savior in scorching hot summers?
Here is an introduction to intriguing Iranian soft drinks, so pour yourself a drink to cradle the glass while you are reading and avoid thinking about what you had been probably missing.
It is a savory yogurt-based drink that is popular in many countries in western parts of Asia and also a Balkan region that is also called by many names including Ayran in Turkish or Tan in Armenian. However, according to historians, the diluted yogurt plus chilled water has been consumed since ancient times in Iran and Iranians never miss drinking it with kabob, dizi, or lunch in general. But be careful around it since it gives you sleepy head.
It is easy to make Doogh. You only need to stir three spoons of yogurt (the amount depends on your taste) with a pinch of salt and dried mint. Now add icy water to fill up the glass. It is recommended to use sour yogurt instead of sweet one.
There are several variations of Doogh such as Kefir which is made with milk instead of yogurt and it gets carbonated if it is left at room temperature and is counted as fermented drink and healthy.
Black tea or Chayi in Farsi is the most popular hot beverage in Iran. Wherever you go a cup of tea is in front of you right after greetings, hence you should learn how to drink it in Persian style; it is served in little glass cups (called Estekan in Farsi) on a saucer with a sugar bowl next to it which you can pick up sugar cube from it and eat it with your tea. Some elderlies pour tea in the saucer to make it cold. It is too Iranian if you do so.
Although tea has been used in Iran for thousands of years, originally it comes from China and Iranians had shown a great passion for making and using it, therefore, harvested many types of tea mostly in northern parts of the country.
Brewing tea is easy. First, you need to pour enough water (a liter is OK) in a kettle and leave it in the oven to get boiled. Then pour about two tea spoons of dried tea (enough for 4 or 5 persons) into the teapot and subsequently add boiled water from the kettle to it and leave it on top of the kettle over the oven. Leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Now you can fill around one sixth of the cup from the pot and add boiled water to fill up the cup. The color ranges from orange-red to fire brick, darker it gets, bitterer it is.
Iranians usually drink tea after meals and on every possible occasion because we are addicted to it! Believe me, you may see people in Iran who get headaches if they do not consume their daily dosage of tea.
Other types are also getting popular nowadays but black tea is on top of the list which is followed by tea mixed with other ingredients such as cinnamon (Chayi Darchini in Farsi), cardamom, or saffron.
Until I write another post on Iranian famous beverages, get up and go to the nearest Iranian shop in your town and buy a bag of tea or a bucket of yogurt to make tea or doogh and show off to your non-Iranian friends.
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