Sulaimani – Spiced black tea from Malabar

Sulaimani tea
I really cannot talk about Kerala without talking about Sulaimani tea. Spending most of my childhood in Malabar and being a vegetarian did restrict my choice of offerings when I visited my friends, join an iftar evening or attend a wedding. But I have no qualms about it because I was a terrible picky eater.  Being a Vegetarian, picky eater did not  stop me from going to a wedding in Malabar, coz for from far away, if you smell the byriyani, I smell the aroma of the Sweet Sulaimani tea

Sulaimani in Malabar

Sulaimani tea, the aromatic spiced tea infusion brewed for the special occasions in the muslim families is the epitome of classic tea influences in my tastebuds.  With strong middle eastern origins, this black tea preperation is served as Beverage to cleanse after a heavy meal of byriyani or neichooru (ghee rice).
Leaning on the arab traders who loved the spices, this black tea with spices of local influence like cardamom, cinnamon and ginger is true ambrosia.  Sipped always hot, the cultural intermingling, the strong Arabic prefernce have all made sulaimani symbolic  to Malabar.
The sweetened tea relies on the freshness of the black tea from Wayanadan tea estates( Nilgiris).  The ready availability of spices from the same region is the key characteristic of this hot brew. Flavoured( ideally) with the dried dates served along (sweetened prior when served in weddings) this completes any dessert craving after a full tummy tuck in of the heavy main dishes.
Boiled in large saucepans to infuse the spices, the richness of the tea is experienced by serving small quantities in a glass tumbler and sipping through the nearly hot beverage and blowing through the steam, inhaling the aroma.
The thin slices of lemon sometimes floating on top of the tea of the strands of saffron leaving their faint scent over the heady spice mix elevates the experience are a fairly newer addition to this.
Sulaimani is not a tea just for the tastebuds, but an experience of the richness of Malabar Mapillah cuisine.
Currently, this is the best recipe I have for sulaimani and it keeps evolving. Since autumn coolness has begun to set in and a warm cup will soothe the greys, I guess it is a imbibition I want to pass on to my young ones too.
Scroll down for the recipe
 Here are two  brilliant variations from a good Malabari comrade in the blogging scene
Here is another Malabar special

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Sulaimani tea


The Malabari tea
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Desserts, Drinks, Sweets and savories, Traditional
Cuisine Indian, Kerala, Malabar, One pot, South indian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 4 cups


  • 5 cups drinking water
  • 2 tsp black tea leaves use dust tea for stronger aroma
  • unrefined sugar to taste, use stevia for low cal version


  • 2 pods green cardamom
  • 1 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 4-5 Black pepper Whole


  • Crush the aromatics using a mortar and pestle
  • In a saucepan bring the water to a boil and add the aromatics and boil further,
  • when in a rolling boil add the tea leaves and unrefined sugar.
  • Allow the tea to seep for three minutes and remove.
  • Strain and serve hot.
  • Add in a few strands of saffron, mint or a slice of lemon.


Use stevia to sweeten if you prefer low-calorie version.
The use of mint or lemon or saffron is based on individual preference.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
6 years ago

Aww… I am actually giggling you called me “comrade”! 😀 Sulaimani is love, true… if we don’t make it properly, the folks frown at us… love all the spices that have gone in and the beautiful color of the liquid… I usually love having sulaimani without sugar or very little of it…

Poonam bachhav
6 years ago

This spiced tea makes its presence in my kitchen quite often during winters ..lovely share !

Nandita Gupta
6 years ago

I am a tea addict and any kind of tea is absolutely welcome! Loved this recipe

Shobha Keshwani
6 years ago

I usually add these spices to my tea in winter and I add a little milk too.

Soma Mukherjee
6 years ago

Lovely spice infused tea I have heard about sulaimani tea a lot but read about it today, thanks for the lovely share.

Sujata Roy
6 years ago

I like black tea but never tasted with aromatic spices. Loved it. I will try it soon.

6 years ago

I am a tea addict but milk one,we usually add these spices in our masala tea..never tried it in black tea. I feel the aroma of the tea. Lovely share.

Mayuri Patel
6 years ago

Every part of India has its own version of tea. I’ve heard of the Sulaimani tea but have not tasted it in India. I enjoy a cup of spicy black tea after a heavy meal or even just as a refreshing drink. Will try your recipe out.

6 years ago

I’ve never tried spiced tea! I’m going to try making this, it sounds delicious!

6 years ago

Now this is totally new to me . Each nook n corner we have chai varieties delicious variety at that. Now this is so yummy I want to try it immediately.

Ritu Tangri
6 years ago

I loved your style of writing. The way you explained shows your love for the tea and takes the reader along with it. I too add all these ingredients in my tea but my tea is with milk. I’ll try my evening tea this way today 🙂

6 years ago

I like masala chai but never tasted without milk. Now, need to try sulaimani sometime.

6 years ago

My hubby is black tea lover but never tried with this kind of aromatic spices. I ll give this a try. THanks

6 years ago

Lovely write up 🙂 I usually make tea this way, but I need the milk. The only black tea I enjoy is the Rose tea, Should definitely try your way:)

6 years ago

What a lovely writeup! I can smell the tea brewing all the way from Lahore ???? I’m a tea addict, love masala chai and all varieties of kehwa. I can imagine how soothing it must be sipping this aromatic cup of tea!

6 years ago

I love the aroma of black tea. It will be soothing after eating spicy and oily food.

Padma Veeranki
6 years ago

This spiced tea is great especially during winters…I make the same version but with a little milk and also include some ginger….I will try just the black tea version next time…Thanks for the share!!

6 years ago

The Malabar version of spiced tea sounds just like our masala chai without milk. Nice to know and read about this beverage.

6 years ago

I have had this tea a couple of times and love its spicy flavour. Our traditional beverages are just the best, aren’t they, Seema?

6 years ago

Surely I will try soon seema, m a big lover of blacktea 🙂 Love the spice infusion here !!

5 years ago

I would like to sales tea powder with my self blending without more ingredients. Tea powder and any one of the best cheap rate ingredient.. Can u help me. This only In malabar area .

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