There is a fine tradition in Somali society known as casariya, a word that is loosely translated to mean afternoon tea. Wonderfully spiced tea called shaah in Somali is often served with various types of sweet or savoury treats. And you never, ever have shaah without sheeko (stories)!
We went to my cousin Mariam’s house for lunch on a warm lazy Sunday afternoon. We had the typical Somali smorgasbord of various delicious dishes, but the standout for me was this amazing smoothie. It had celery, mint, mango, orange and tamarind – an unusual combination that just worked beautifully together. My son, who hates vegetables, gulped it down and asked for more!
It is amazing to see how international the humble cup of chai tea has become. Once common only in homely kitchens, it is now increasingly a popular drink of choice for the latte-sipping trendy folk. We think they are onto a good thing, but we’ve been in the know for a longer time!
I came across a great word ‘chaivinist’, which someone humorously translated to mean ‘a person displaying aggressive, exaggerated and prejudiced love for chai’. We Somalis would concur and agree that we are definitely shaahvinists! Here is our recipe for making a great tasting cup of home-made chai or shaah cadeys as we call it in Somali.