The summer heat and humidity persists, which gives me a good reason to write about this traditional and cooling Iranian-style summertime sharbat (sherbet). I had briefly mentioned tokhme sharbati in my post about khakshir, stating that it may be added to a glass of khakshir drink for a richer drink. However, I feel that tokhme sharbati needs to have its own post and be recognized as a delicious and nutritional herbal drink with many health benefits. Tokhme sharbati is known to cool down the body, help improve hydration and is a good source of antioxidants. It's also a beautiful drink to have, with its grayish fuzzy seeds floating in the ice-water glass. It's like looking at the nighttime silver blue sky covered with the tiniest gleaming stars that seem connected from afar but are actually very far apart.
Finding the English name for tokhme sharbati was quite a challenge. The label on the package that I purchased from an Iranian grocery store said chia seeds. However, after Googling tokhme sharbati, I also came across names such as basil seeds or mountain basil seeds.
Sharbats have a long history in the Persian cuisine with many variations. Ismail Gorgani wrote in his 12th century Persian book, Zakhireye Khawrazmshahi, which was very much influenced by Ibn Sina's book of Qanoon (Canon of Medicine), about sharbats such as sekanjabin, pomegranate, etc. These sugar-sweetened drinks may be made with fruits, vegetables, herbal seeds, rose water and saffron. Now that we are told not to eat too much sugar and almost everyone is concerned about not becoming diabetic, I reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe compared to the recipe that was used in our home growing up. You may want to adjust the amount of sugar/sugar syrup to your taste and your diet. You can also substitute honey for sugar. I should point out that the authentic Iranian way of adding sugar to any sharbat is to make a sugar syrup first. For sugar syrup, add a cup of sugar to a cup of water in a small pan, bring to a gentle boil on medium-high heat, stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Lower the heat and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the syrup is reduced and thickens a bit.
Sharbat-e Tokhme Sharbati
2-3 teaspoons tokhme sharbati (chia seeds), can be found in Iranian/Persian markets
2 cups cool water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon rose water
A few drops of fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
- Stir the sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water until fully dissolved or use a couple of tablespoons of the sugar syrup as explained above.
- Combine the seeds, water and the dissolved sugar, refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the seeds to plump up.
- Add the rose water and a few drops of lime juice to taste. The drink is best served cold.