Tamr Hendy has to be one of the most common drinks at any Iftar table around Egypt. Some even mix it with Karakadeh (Hibiscus) making for a delicious, thirst quenching drink. But, you probably already know all that, what you may not know, however, is how it all started. How did this drink become a staple at any Iftar table? How did it become one of Ramadan’s signature drinks? Well, today we are going to give you an answer to these questions.
Originating from India, as indicated by its name, the tamarind plant can also be found in Tropical Eastern Africa. But how did it reach us here in Egypt? Well, according to Dr. Hamza El-Gebaly’s book, Secrets of Medical Herbs, Nuts, & Spices, Arabs were the first to bring the plant to their countries, and they named it Tamr Hendy, which is the Arabic translation of its name in Indian mythology. Hindus believe it symbolises the marriage of the Hindu God Krishna, which they celebrate every November.
According to various reports, the relation between Tamr Hendy and Ramadan came about during the Mamluk era, as they used the plant to create the Tamr Hendy drink as a substitute for alcohol at Iftar, due to its great effect in quenching thirst. By this time, the farmers of Egypt started planting it, and it quickly became a staple of Egyptian Ramadan drinks.