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
- 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.
- 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.
- In the last couple of minutes add a small bunch of fresh mint to the syrup.
- Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Remove the mint leaves before serving.
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.
1 1/3 cups honey (clover or orange blossom)
1 cup water
2/3 cup vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)
- Follow the same directions used in recipe #1 for sekanjabin and its drink (sharbat).
- 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!