"Mint tea is the true expression of the hospitality Morocco is so well known for. It is a beautiful, fragrant, refreshing tea to soothe, relax, calm or even to awaken and enliven," says Hassan. Short, curly mint with red stalks is traditionally used, but spearmint can be substituted. The traditional guidelines for serving mint tea are that the person preparing the tea is the only person to pour until the pot is empty, and each glass is to be handed to the right.
3 tbsp Chinese gunpowder tea (see Note) or green tea
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
165 g white sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place tea in a large metal teapot with 250 ml boiling water. Swirl to combine, then strain and discard water, leaving tea in pot (this cleans and removes the bitterness of the tea).
Pour 1 litre boiling water into the pot, then place over high heat and bring to the boil for 1 minute to develop the flavours.
Add mint leaves to the pot and cook for a further 1 minute or until tea almost begins to boil. Remove from heat, stir in sugar until it dissolves, then, using a tea towel to protect your hands, pour tea into a glass, then pour it back into the pot. Repeat two more times (this allows the tea to properly mix and infuse).
Pour half the tea among 4 glasses. Start pouring from high up, then lower towards the end to create froth. Fill each glass to about 3 cm from the top to allow the glass to be held.
• Chinese gunpowder tea is available from Asian food shops and specialist food shops.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 12, pg93.
Photography by Alan Benson