How to make Moroccan Tea!
Comment préparer le thé Marocain!
Fresh mint tea is known in Morocco as "Atay = أتايْ ", pronounced as "A-TA-Y", and which is an Imazighn (Shalha) term, whereas in Classical Arabic, this drink is known as " Chay = الشّايْ", pronounced as "SHA-Y". Atay is the most traditional and popular drink in Morocco, but it is more than a mere drink, it is rather a way of life, a whole tradition and culture.
Most of Morocco neighbours, especially Arab/Muslim countries, love drinking coffee more than tea, and this is because of the Othmans' culture influence= العثمانيون, since the Turks used to drink a lot of coffee. So most of these Arab/Muslim countries drink coffee in the Turkish fashion with cardamom seeds, etc... However, though the Othmans were getting closer to the Moroccan borders, reinforcing their power in Northern-African region, Morocco was the only country that never officially surrender to the Othmans Empire, or had been considered as part of it. This is how Moroccan Cuisine was able to keep its own food tradition and culture. Of course, Moroccans still love to drink coffee but not as much as tea, and when they do, they prefer to prepare it in the European fashion, but never the Turkish way.
It is assumed that tea was first introduced to Morocco in the 18th century through trade with Europe, especially England, and since then, the art of serving properly hot fresh mint tea, along with delicious Moroccan Cookies, has been of utmost importance and even part of Moroccan culture and tradition. So, it is not a surprise to anyone if Morocco is one of the world's largest importer of tea, and more precisely, it is the first worldwide importer of Chinese Green Tea, which is Moroccans' favourite type of tea.
Ingredients to make Moroccan Tea:
1-Gunpowder = أتاي حْبوبْ: Moroccan tea is different from British one, which is black and served with milk or water. Moroccan tea is rather green, known also as "Gunpowder" and imported from China, where each leaf is rolled into a small round pellet and then dried. Below is the picture of this green tea how it looks like:
2-Fresh Mint = النّْعْناعْ: It is one of the most commonly used herb in Morocco after, of course, coriander and parsley which come first. In some region, fresh mint is also called "Liquama" = لِقامة , when mixed with other fresh herbs, such as Fliyou =فْلِيّو , which is a variety of mint called in English "Pennyroyal" or "La Menthe Pouliot" in French.
This is a picture of Fresh Mint
3-Sugar = السّكّارْ : In Morocco, we use either sugar cone (Loaf ), known as قالب السّكّر or sugar bricks, known as السّكّر طوبة, to sweeten the tea, but never caster or granulated sugar.
This is a picture of sugar chunks, that I broke off to make some tea :)
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Mamatkamal, K. El Mary