Shai Adeni (Shahi Mulaban, Shahi Haleeb, Arabic Shai, Adeni Tea) is a Yemeni tea from the coastal city of Aden flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk with a bit of sugar.
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I first came across this style of tea while reviewing The Food of Oman a couple of years ago (known there as Special Karak) and found similar variations such as the Kenyan Chai ya Tangawizi (Ginger Tea). It is now one of my favorites. I love the pairing of warming spices with the sweetness of the condensed milk.
I used a combination of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves and simmered the spices with water and sweetened condensed milk for a few minutes until they became fragrant before adding the black tea leaves. Simmer the tea leaves for about 2-4 minutes to desired darkness and strength. Be careful not to overdo it or the tea will become bitter. The amount and inclusion of spices can be adjust based on personal preference (though all the recipes I came across included cardamom).
I used sweetened condensed milk since that is how the tea has been served in local restaurants and I have a particular soft spot for it after trying it in this Teh Tarik- Malaysian Pulled Tea. You can also replace the condensed milk for unsweetened evaporated milk and add sugar to taste (roughly about 1/4 cup).
If you want an extra boost of spice, feel free to top the strained tea with a small pinch of cinnamon or ground cardamom.
Green Cardamom (Elettaria, Elaichi) originated in India and is a highly aromatic, warm citrus-like spice similar to ginger and cinnamon. Most of the flavor is in the seeds encased by the green pods. You can buy cardamom whole or ground, but the seeds quickly lose their flavor once the pods are cut. I have been able to find green cardamom at World Market and other specialty spice stores/International Markets featuring Indian products. Many larger supermarkets carry ground cardamom. It is also available on Amazon: Cardamom Pods Green (Elachi)3.5oz- Indian Grocery.
Shai Adeni (Adeni Tea) Recipe
Adapted from Sheba Yemeni Food
Shai Adeni (Adeni Tea)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 8 green cardamom pods lightly smashed
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons black tea leaves
- In a small saucepan, combine the cinnamon stick, cloves, green cardamom pods, water, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Add the tea leaves and continue to simmer for another 2-4 minutes to desired strength. Strain the mixture and serve hot.