Citizens, your Generalissimo – the surprisingly sweet and rarely sour TFD! – is possessed of a profound sweet tooth matched only by my divinely-inspired culinary wisdom.
While I must now sadly monitor my sugar intake due to a few unwise dietary choices in my youth, I still prefer the flavor of real sugar to sugar substitute in my tea any day!
Rock candy is a favored sweetener in many parts of the world for beverages and in Uzbekistan, they have made creating and flavoring it into a true art form! As far as I am aware, this is the first recipe in English on how to make Navat, the flavored rock candy unique to this country!
Watch this video to see how it is made before attempting this recipe!
Uzbekis consider Navat, to be a medicine, as noted on this fascinating blog entry at erch2014.com:
Navat is a sugar of crystallized form, and belongs to the cuisine of the peoples of Central Asia. In Uzbekistan, it is customary to use it as a treat for tea. To prepare navat, grape juice with spices or high-concentration sugar syrup is used. This mixture is crystallized around the yarns prepared specifically for this process.
Uzbek sugar navat, whose useful properties have been known since ancient times, is very popular in our day. This is due to the fact that delicacy is not only a pleasant taste, but also its beneficial effect on the body.
Navat perfectly copes with various ailments. It is used instead of the usual lollipops for sore throat or cough. It is especially useful in combination with green tea.
There is also a theory that navat (sugar),which useful properties are used to treat inflammatory diseases, is especially favorable for the female body. Some people say that many gynecological ailments can be cured. It also reduces pain during menstruation. And it helps breastfeeding moms to improve lactation.
Having eaten nawat, a person can feel more energetic and engage in various activities longer. Therefore, it is often used by elderly people.
And this is not all the useful properties of this wonderful product! It also has a curative effect when:
- digestive disorders;
- dehydration of the body;
- low pressure;
- cardiological disorders;
- general weakness.
Citizens, I have chosen to make my navat with ruthless authenticity – I have chosen herb and spice flavors that are traditional to Uzbek cuisine in my recipe. I also use the best and most fragrant grape juice you can buy in the U.S. to make this recipe! Gewürztraminer grape juice is available from here – and this is the only grape juice I would personally make this recipe with.
Failing that, use the best white grape juice you can get your hands on.
I also use Chinese golden rock sugar to mix with the grape juice – since it is made from a combination of honey and regular sugar it is a more healthful starter for this rock candy, not to mention it is already rock candy itself! Buy it from here.
Once you try this recipe, I guarantee you will use this complexly flavored and delicious sugar in your tea forever after! It also makes a great gift, by the way!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 6 cups Gewürztraminer Grape Juice
- 6 cups smashed bits of Chinese rock sugar
- 2 teaspoons rose water – TFD prefers Cortas brand
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water – TFD prefers Cortas brand
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom (known as hari elaachi in Uzbekistan)
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, crushed with 2 tablespoons Gewürztraminer grape juice in a mortar and pestle – use only 1 tbsp. of the strained mixture in recipe, reserve remainder for use in cocktails!
- 1 teaspoon top-quality saffron threads, crushed
- an old wok or heavy saucepan, don’t use your go-to cooking utensils here, something cheap and used only for this purpose is best
- thin cotton butchers twine, cut to fit the width of your wok or saucepan
- scotch tape
- Wet each thread with water, and roll it in granulated sugar, except for the ends. This base layer gives the sugar crystals something to grab when they start forming. Set these aside to dry while you prepare the sugar syrup.
- Place the grape juice in a medium-sized pot and bring it to a boil. Begin adding the crushed Chinese rock sugar, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition. You will notice that it takes longer for the sugar to dissolve after each cup you add. Continue to stir and boil the syrup until all of the sugar has been added and it is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Add rose water, orange flower water, cardamom, saffron and tarragon paste at this point. Make sure you don’t stand right in front of the pan because the scent can be very strong as it rises in the steam.
- In the old wok, carefully tape the sugared butchers twine in a grid pattern (watch the video to see how to do it).
- Allow the sugar syrup to cool for approximately 10 minutes, then pour it into the gridded wok, avoiding pouring directly onto the strings. Carefully place the wok in a cool place, away from harsh lights, where it can sit undisturbed. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap or a paper towel.
- You should start to see sugar crystals forming within two to four hours. If you see no change after 24 hours, try boiling the sugar syrup again and dissolve another cup of sugar into it. Then pour it back into the wok with new sugared strings.
- Allow the rock candy to grow until it is the size you want, which should take about 3 days. Once it has reached the desired size, remove it and allow it to dry for a few minutes, then enjoy or wrap in plastic wrap to save for later.
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