Lebanese cuisine is famous for its flavour rich food items incredible ingredients. Interestingly, many Arabic dishes are influenced by the flavour profile of Lebanese dishes. Fresh herbs and spices are the ‘secret’ of Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisines. Lebanese tea which is also known as the white drink is a popular social drink in Lebanon. Freshly brewed tea is served hot to welcome guests or it served after the meal. You could add honey if you prefer it sweet. In the olden days, the Zhourat – Lebanese herbal tea was a symbol of luxury and only the rich and the privileged sections in the society had it. However, it became a popular drink when tea became cheaper and easily available.
The herbal mix is prepared by drying melissa herb, lemon verbena, rose buds, chamomile, linden, fennel seeds, star anise and dill. Studies show that this herbal tea aids digestion and improves the health of liver.
Lebanese herbal tea could be prepared using green tea leaves or as black tea too. Adding orange blossom water ,which is a popular ingredient in the Middle Eastern cuisine is optional; however, it gives a special aroma and flavour to the tea. In Lebanon, tea is served in small glass tumblers along with sweet dishes or dried fruits. It is a refreshing drink which is enjoyed during family gatherings and special occasions.
Flowers of sham
Zhourat shamia or the flowers of sham is the main ingredient in the Lebanese herbal tea. This is a dried mixture of herbs and flowers available in the Mediterranean province of Levant. This is mixed in hot water to make the tea. Dried herbs and flowers are often sold in the markets of Damascus. They are available in super markets and could be purchased online too. Even though this mix looks like green tea leaves, they are an aromatic mixture of dried herbs, spices and flowers.
Here is how to prepare the Lebanese herbal tea:
2 cups water
1 tbsp Lebanese tea mix
(You could also use 1 tbsp green tea leaves or prepare as black tea)
1 tbsp orange blossom water (optional)
Sugar/honey if required
Add the tea leaves and infuse them for 2-3 minutes
Strain this into tea cups
Add honey/sugar if required
Enjoy hot Lebanese herbal tea.