Home > Somali Culture, Sudan Adventure > Shaah Cadeys

Shaah Cadeys

It was a quiet summer evening in the village and it had stopped raining a few hours ago. A nice cool breeze laden with the sweet smell of forest just blew across my face. You could almost taste the smell of palm trees and the river in the distance. You could hear the relaxing sounds of nature; the crickets chirping and frogs croaking in the distance. There was an ant on my table scouting for anything worth calling in the cavalry for. I looked around and saw old men playing mahjong and a young couple enjoying an evening out. There were teenage boys and girls riding their fixie bicycles behind me on the street, each bike having its own unique colors and accessories, each design crying for attention and recognition. A couple of ill-tuned cars rolled in and one of the engines backfired as they idled.

My cellphone started beeping and when I read the message I started laughing to myself. A friend from abroad sent me an inside joke we shared. Could this evening get any better? As I was typing a reply to my friend, the waiter came and placed my cup of tea on the table. As I looked up from my phone screen and reached for the cup of tea, I remembered something that would send me on a trip down memory lane for the next few minutes…

Back in Sudan, 6 of us lived in a flat. Each one of us had a hobby or something we loved to do in our free time. We had the soccer freak who had the latest world soccer rumors before they even hit the news. There was the historian who could tell you your ancestry just by knowing your father’s 3rd name. There was the bookworm, the poet, and the wadaad. Then there was Cadeys, the dude who made our casariyo (afternoon tea).

Although we’d all be pre-occupied with our work during the day, there was a certain time in the afternoon where you’d find us all sitting on the floor of the big room waiting for Cadeys to do what he does best: make cadays (Somali fragrant milk tea with or without spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, etc).

Exam revisions, assignments, projects, Paltalk; whatever anyone of us was occupied with would be put on the back burner and dealt with later.

Tea time with the boys

The brother in question is the one holding the electric kettle. His name is Ahmad, but ever since we assigned each one a day to make casariyo, we would always look forward to his day and one thing led to another and he was called Cadeys. Being the comedian in the group, he’d then proceed to liven up the afternoon and tell us stories that never happened and incidents that may or may not have taken place. Then one of us would start a topic whether it be sports, politics, medicine, Somalia, or space, only to be interrupted by a quip by Cadeys who’d then proceed to make one of us the next victim of his jokes…

As I grabbed the cup of tea and took the first sip, all I could think was how it would never be anything like Somali cadeys…

Not counting Ramadhan of course, do you usually have casariyo? If so, what spices do you add. And being Somali tea…I have to ask…how much sugar do you add?

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  1. Khadija
    August 23, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Loool @ how much sugar. its alot is all i can say. I found ur blog at the Somali blog page and im loving the stories on ur old blog.

  2. August 25, 2011 at 3:59 AM

    Actually, I don’t like much sugar in my tea. At first this was a problem in our family. I mean, we are somalis after all. But within a month of “forgetting” to add the second spoon of sugar in the kettle, the rest of the family also developed a fondness for bitter tea. Your tastebuds easily adapt to lack of sugar.

    I’m big on fragrant tea. I add the manditory cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick (only it has to boil a while to reveal fragrance) and dhego yare (dried cloves). Also, I heart ginger, so I normally add some mashed fresh ginger aswell.

    In my family and among my somali friends I am the odd one out because I don’t drink cadays. A long story, actually. But since I drink black tea I also add some lemon to my tea. It sounds overwhelming to have four ingredients in tea, but with the right proportions it turns out great.

    But this I made for hooyo once, and her being the cadays-connoisseur approved instantly. You should try it out: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/indian/recipe-authentic-chai-047061

  3. Sam
    August 25, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Khadija – Thanks and I hope you start your own blog some time!

    Somalieren – Duuuuude, finally another Somali that doesn’t add too much sugar. I drink black tea or green tea in the mornings, but if I’m around in the afternoon it’s cadays or nothing. And I have to stop adding the milk after pouring it and start actually cooking it with the milk like it’s supposed to be done. I’ll try the recipe you gave me; but I have to shop for those items at the nearest Tesco first. This next question might sound dumb, so you have to forgive me, but do I need to preserve the ingredients in some airtight container or something?

  4. Tamby
    August 26, 2011 at 2:40 AM

    I never tried this before..how is it..? I will try to make one using the link somalieren gave

  5. August 28, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    Sam, if you’re going to make chai you have to really make chai. No cold milk poured in afterwards. And once in a while, splurge on some whole-fat or creamy milk. It’ll taste amazing, I assure you. Even though I don’t like cadays!

    But even cooking the milk seperately and then pouring it in the hot tea is good. But never ever cold milk in hot tea. My hooyo would flog me if I served cold milk to hot tea!

    Yeah, you should. But basically small freeze bags/plastic lunchbags (I am not sure what you call them) will do. You don’t have to buy fancy stuff. If you use fresh ginger, don’t put it in the fridge. The humidity will cause it to mold. Put it some place dark, dry and somewhat chilly and you’ll keep it forever.

    P.S: Don’t you have souqs in Saudia? One of the things I enjoyed in Syria was buying spices directly from farmers in the souq of spices. Huge bags of everything that smells wonderful!

  6. August 28, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Oh, and I don’t use loose-weight tea, I use regular Lipton/PG. I can’t be bothered with filtering the tea or buying expensive gear. Although, I imagine, if you use proper loose-weight tea, the experience will be way more awesome!

    Tamby, oh, you should try it. You will not regret it!

  7. Sam
    August 28, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Somalieren, currently being in Malaysia, I have to fetch all of the ingredients and try it myself. But if I was in Saudi Arabia hooyo would make it for me, and being the lazy person I am, I never bothered to learn how to make it and now I’m asking things like preserving spices!

    There is a farmer’s market here but it’s on Fridays, and I missed it, so I have to pass by Tesco later.

    Yea there are souqs in KSA, and I would take mom there every once a while and watch as she picked weird powders and beat the sellers in whatever price battles she entered. I’d be like, this guy looks like he won’t budge from that price, and Masha’Allah she’d be like, watch and learn. I’d feel sorry for each guy she bought something from.

  8. Bint Đirir
    August 28, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    Well , I am not a fan of Shaah Cadeys , I can count on my fingers how many times I have drank it since last year , but I make it everyday for my father with a little less than one teaspoon of sugar .

    Nice topic brother , may Allah bless you ……….. + Happy Eid in advance ^ــــ^ .

  9. Kassim
    August 28, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Nice blog! Now I know how to say milk tea in Somali. This is similar to Pakistani spiced milk tea and it is very delicious!

  10. Sam
    August 28, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Bint Đirir – hey sister, you are missing out on some great tea!

    Kassim – Thanks for passing by. Yea I’ve had Pakistani tea before, and it’s similar.

  11. Asma
    August 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Great recipe somalieren! Even though I only usually drink black tea, I enjoy this kind of tea from time to time when at friends houses. It is nice when taken with homemade biscuits!

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