This is a very popular Iraqi Ramadan cold drink. Most Iraqi households would prepare this cold drink for the month of Ramadan because it quenches the thirst. After a long day of fasting you do need more than water to replenish your withering body ! Noomi Basra is excellent for digestive system, reducing headaches and dizziness and it is good for blood circulations. It is high in vitamin D and potassium as well as other nutrients that makes this dried little ball into a healthy little gem. This drink is also great for hot summer days too.
What is Noomi Basra? Naomi is the Iraqi word for dried lime, Basra is a very large port city in southern Iraq. Iraq used to import green limes from India and it would reach the port of Basra dry, hence the name. Noomi comes in two variety brown and black. The black variety is less sour and is used in drinks. The seeds of the noomi is extremely bitter and it is removed when used in cooking. You can use the noomi whole or crushed depending on what you are cooking. Noomi is used a lot in Iraqi cooking, Iran and the Gulf countries also use it in their traditional cuisine.
I must admit I only started to do this drink this Ramadan as usually I drink Chai Noomi Basra, which is hot tea. I was sceptical about drinking it cold and the thought of drinking cold sour bitter juice didn’t click in my head. However, once I drank it I saw that the smell did differ from the taste slightly and in fact it was very refreshing . They key is to drink it cold and to most importantly remove the seeds completely before soaking as they make the juice taste extremely bitter and leaves a bad taste. You can break the strong noomi flavour by adding cardamon , no other spices are usually used but you can experiment! Some Iraqi households add one table spoon of rose water. Remember you can alter the sweetness depending on taste but a cup of sugar to one litter of water is your base mark.
I am piercing the noomi instead of crushing it and soaking it in hot water. I found it to be easier as I don’t have to remove the seeds and the hot water dissolved the sugar quickly and the infusion was faster, the smell was so beautiful ……
Okay lets start making this delicious healthy drink;
6 Noomi Basra
2 cardamon pods, you can use more
1 cup white sugar
1 little of water (I used boiling)
Step 1- Using knife carefully pierce or make slots in the noomi basra.
Step 2- In a large bowl add all the ingredients together and stir well.
Step 3- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Step 4- Remove from fridge and sieve well into a jug making sure not bits or seeds fall into the jug.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Bilafyeah (Iraqi for bonne appetite)