Persian food is pretty extraordinary, and one of the more unusual ingredients that features in it is the Dried Persian Borage Flower. This is different to the European Borage flower which is quite tiny compared to the Persian one. Beginning life as a pink flower, it turns blue as it dries. It has such a relaxing quality, that making tea from it is a perfect evening task.
You can find Persian Borage Flowers online, at Persian shops or at Afghan shops. I found mine recently at a local Afghan shop. Also close to the Borage Flowers you will see the Persian Dried Rosebuds. I like these better than the Chinese ones as the Chinese ones currently available have had a strange colour and no flavour or aroma (I think they are dyed). The Persian ones are so fragrant and a natural pink in colour.
While you are at the Afghan or Middle Eastern shop, pick up Dried Limes as well – they will be near the spice section. Intensely lemony, they feature often in Persian and Middle Eastern food, and we put some in this tea. They come in black and yellow-brown colours. Either will do. I love the look of the black ones and the slight smoky flavour they add.
Also near the dried ingredients you will find Dried Mint. You will need a pack of this as well. Also pick up coriander seeds, saffron and cinnamon sticks if you don’t have any at home. And for a treat, grab a packet of nabāt, crystalised rock sugar on sticks. It is a beautiful sweetener with a lovely clear flavour, without any taste of caramel.
You may find your Persian, Afghan or Middle Eastern Grocer has a pre-prepared tea mixture similar to this. I used to buy it regularly, but can no longer find it near my place. So I have adapted a recipe from Persian Fusion.
Use either the yellow-brown dried limes or the black ones – essentially they are the same, but the black ones will have a slightly more interestingly smoky flavour.
Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea
25g Persian rose petals
25g Persian borage flowers
25g dried mint leaves
2 dried limes, crushed or crumbled
3 large pinch saffron threads
3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
25g cardamom pods
35 grams of coriander seeds
Mix the ingredients gently.
Use 1-2 Tblspn of the mixture for each pot of tea. Add a pinch of saffron if you like, it’s entirely optional. Allow to seep for 10 – 15 mins before pouring.
Sweeten with honey or Persian Rock Candy, or drink unsweetened.
Relax, and enjoy.
recipe notes and alternatives
Rock candy can be bought in Afghan shops, conveniently on sticks for ease of stirring. You can buy it with saffron threads incorporated in the candy as well, for added flavour in your tea.
A quick tea can be made by punching some holes in a dried lime with a fork. Place it in a large teapot. Add some dried roses, some borage flowers and a couple of teaspoons of dried mint. Add boiling water and allow to infuse. Sweeten with nabāt, and enjoy. (Use half a lime, or a few pieces of crumbled lime if you find a whole lime too much.) Top up with hot water as the teapot empties, and you will have a delicious tea that will last you several pots.