Inspired by my recent visit to the Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market and the wonderful array of local products I found there such as moringa and baobab powders, and lemongrass, hibiscus and kinkeliba teas, I thought about how I could combine some of these flavours to create a uniquely West African drink.
The result is a Papaya and Hibiscus Tea Smoothie, with a baobab powder boost. Adding tea to a smoothie is a great way of introducing an extra depth of flavour and added nutrients without adding calories. The sweetness of the papaya balances out the naturally tart flavours of the baobab and hibiscus, and the overall result is a zingy and refreshing antioxidant-infused treat.
Here’s a closer look at some of the ingredients:
Hibiscus tea or Bissap, is a popular drink across West Africa. It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, supports a healthy immune system, and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
Baobab fruit has received a lot of attention in recent years as an African superfood, and deservedly so. It contains more vitamin c than oranges, more calcium than milk and a host of minerals like iron and magnesium.
Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants such as carotenes, and contains vitamin c and fibre.
I’ve been drinking this tasty concoction as a caffeine-free boost when my energy levels start to flag, and as a nutritious alternative to a cup of coffee or sugary snack mid-afternoon.
One tablespoon of dried hibiscus flowers (or a hibiscus tea bag)
A quarter of a medium sized papaya cut into chunks
One tablespoon of baobab fruit powder
One cup of milk (your choice of soy, almond, cow’s etc.)
A couple of teaspoons of honey
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)
Steep the hibiscus flowers (or tea bag) in a cup of boiling water for 3-5 minutes then strain.
Place the liquid from the hibiscus and all the rest of the ingredients into a blender.
Blend until a creamy consistency is achieved.
And enjoy your Papaya and Hibiscus Tea Smoothie; packed with West African flavours and bursting with vitamins and antioxidants. Your body will thank you for it!
You can easily make substitutions to this recipe to add variety. For a Southern African twist why not try rooibos instead of hibiscus tea, or mango instead of papaya?