Showing posts with label Sekanjabin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sekanjabin. Show all posts

June 02,2011

Mint Cucumber Sekanjabin Ice Pops - Ancient Persian Drink Meets the New World

Summer is almost here,with its typical hot and humid weather and the all too familiar music of the ice cream truck driving through the neighborhood followed by the excited screams of the neighbor's kids.So,I thought what better way to welcome the summer than with a mint and cucumber سکنجبین sekanjabin - but not the usual ancient cool beverage or the syrup dip served with fresh lettuce,but as ice pops!These are not your average frozen pops.They have the sweet and sour combination flavor that is typical of Iranian cuisine with vinegar and honey/sugar.Ice pops are a wonderful treat any time of the year but having a tasty ice pop on a hot summer day is just a delightful experience.I still remember the taste of the orange popsicles that I used to buy from the corner grocery store of my grandmother's house in Tehran.When my children were little they enjoyed their ice pops from the ice cream truck after swimming in the pool in the summer.Now,I usually get a box or two of multi-colored ice pops and that lasts us the entire summer.

سکنجبین - Sekanjabinsyrup is usually served in a small bowl and eaten with fresh lettuce leaves.Sekanjabin drink is made with 2-3 tablespoons of sekanjabin,ice,water and grated cucumbers.Even though I absolutely love the taste of sekanjabin now,I didn't appreciate its strong flavor and aroma as a kid.Now,by trying to turn this delicious drink into a بستنی یخی bastani yakhi popsicle I'm hoping it will appeal to the younger generation and those of us kids at heart.This is a simple recipe and a fun one to do with the kids over the summer.I have made few changes in my sekanjabin recipe to make these pops more palatable.

Long before the discovery of electricity and the invention of the refrigerator,having an ice cold drink in hot summer days required some planning,hard work and patience. Yakhchal(ice pits) were built in hot and dry areas to make ice during the winter and to preserve it for use in the summer.As a child,I visited one of these yakhchals in the south of Tehran with my mother.The image of that man-made ancient refrigerator which was made out of mud and clay is still etched in my mind and makes me appreciate making ice-pops in a much more convenient freezer.

Mint Cucumber Sekanjabin Ice Pops - Ancient Persian Drink Meets the New World

Makes 8 pops

1/2 cup honey *(I used orange blossom honey for its delicate scent and mild flavor but any other fruit flavored honey will do)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar *(I chose apple cider vinegar over white vinegar for its milder taste and for a bit of a fruity flavor)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest *(to add a hint of citrus taste)
1 small bunch of fresh mint,washed
3 Persian cucumbers,shredded or thinly sliced
1 teaspoon rosewater

  1. In a heavy-bottom pot combine honey,sugar and water,place on medium heat,bring the water to a boil,stir until honey and sugar are dissolved,lower the heat,simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until it thickens a little bit.
  2. Add vinegar,lemon zest and mint leaves,stir and simmer for another 7-8 minutes.
  3. Remove foams with a wooden spoon.Taste and adjust the flavors.
  4. Add a teaspoon of rosewater,remove from heat and let cool completely and then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.
  5. Place a teaspoon of shredded cucumber and a couple of mint leaves in each mold.Pour the mixture into Popsicle molds.I used thisice pop mold.Insert the ice pop sticks and place in the freezer until firm about 3-4 hours.

February 09,2010

Sekanjabin: A Sweet and Sour Ancient Persian Syrup and Drink

Sweet and Sour Ancient Persian Drink

سکنجبین Sekanjabin is one of the oldest sweet and sour syrups in Iran,dating back to the ancient times.It's a combination of vinegar (serkeh) and "angabin,"which refers to honey and the natural honey sweet.Sekanjabin and its drink (sharbat-e sekanjabin) are usually served during the summer.Now,the reason that I'm writing about a well-known ancient syrup that's perfect for the summer time in the middle of winter,is because of a reader's request asking if I had a recipe for sekanjabin a couple of weeks ago.Being from the south of Iran where summers are long and hot,eating sekanjabin and lettuce was an afternoon ritual in our home.Usually,my mother would place a bowl of sekanjabin in the middle of a large round tray,surrounded by several heads of fresh and crisp lettuce in the middle of the table or on the picnic blanket under the shade of a tree,where we would take a piece of lettuce and dip it into the bowl.Almost every time we had sekanjabin we were reminded by our mother that sekanjabin is not just food but it also has medicinal values with healing powers and a good source of vitamins.Of course,back then she would make sekanjabin with homemade grape vinegar.There are many different recipes for sekanjabin/sekanjabin.Some like it more on the sweet side and some like it more sour,it all depends on your taste.

1- Sekanjabin with Sugar and Vinegar:


1/2 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
A small bunch fresh mint,washed
2 Small seedless cucumbers,washed,peeled and shredded (for the drink)
Lime rind *optional

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot combine sugar and water,place on medium heat,stir until sugar is dissolved.Reduce heat and gently boil for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar,simmer for 30 minutes or until the mixture slightly thickens.Taste and adjust the level of sweetness of the syrup.I usually add an additional 2 tablespoons of vinegar since I like it a bit more on the sour side.
  3. In the last couple of minutes add a small bunch of fresh mint to the syrup.
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.Remove the mint leaves before serving.
Pour sekanjabin into a small bowl and serve with fresh lettuce on a platter.Just to remind you,sekanjabin is quite sticky!

Iranian Vinegar Mint Syrup

Sekanjabin Drink:

Place a couple of tablespoons of the syrup in a glass,add some ice,water,shredded cucumber,mix well,garnish with fresh mint leaves and lime rind.

2- Sekanjabin with Honey and Vinegar:


1 1/3 cups honey (clover or orange blossom)
1 cup water
2/3 cup vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)


  1. Follow the same directionsused inrecipe #1 for sekanjabin and its drink (sharbat).
  2. Remove the foams with a spoon as they form on top.Taste and adjust the sweetness.The aroma of the honey gently simmering on the stove fills up the entire house and  is quite intoxicating!
Sekanjabin can be preserved in a glass jar and kept in a cool place for a long time.