Used in everything from delicious treats to medicinal cures, mint has been a popular herb for centuries. Originally, mint was most commonly found in Middle Eastern culture, but it soon spread across the globe. Different varieties have since emerged, and there is nothing quite like this simple perennial herb.
The following are some recipes—both sweet and savory—from around the world that use mint as a key ingredient.
6 tablespoons sugar
½ cup and 6 tablespoons water, divided
½ cup fresh lemon juice
45 mint leaves
18–20 ice cubes
Add sugar and 6 tablespoons of water to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Add the cooled sugar syrup, remaining ½ cup water, lemon juice, 40 mint leaves, and ice cubes into a blender. Pulse a few times to break up the ice, then process until slushy.
Pour into two tall glasses, garnish with extra mint leaves.
Adapted from anediblemosaic.com
1 cup whole cracked wheat
1½ cups water
2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅓ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
Place wheat in a bowl. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil, remove from heat, and pour over the bulgur wheat. Let wheat rest for ½ hour.
Make the filling: Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and sauté half of the chopped onions, the minced garlic, and the cinnamon and nutmeg. When onions are soft, add ⅓ of the ground turkey. Cook until the ground beef is well browned. Stir in the parsley and cook 1–2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Drain the wheat and place in a food processor with the remaining uncooked ground turkey, remaining raw onions, and mint leaves. Add ¾ teaspoon salt and sprinkle generously with pepper. Process until smooth like dough. Chill for 15 minutes.
Take golf ball–sized balls of the uncooked turkey mixture and press them flat into the palm of your hand. Place 1 tablespoon of the cooked beef mixture in the middle, then close the dough around the filling. Place on a baking sheet until ready to fry.
Heat several inches of vegetable oil in a deep pot to 350° F. Put kibes into the oil and cook until dark brown and crispy. Drain kibes on paper towels.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and lime wedges.
Adapted from southamericanfood.about.com
14 sheets rice paper
11 small cooked shrimp
50 grams dried vermicelli noodles
7 lettuce leaves
14 mint leaves
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
dash of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
Combine the Peanut Dipping Sauce ingredients and mix to a smooth paste. Then add more water to achieve a honey-like consistency.
Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water for 2 minutes, then drain.
Slice shrimp in half lengthwise. Fill a large bowl with warm water.
Place 2 rice papers together. Note which side is the smooth side—this is supposed to be the outside of the spring roll. Submerge the rice papers into the water (both of them at the same time, together) for 2 seconds. If your bowl isn’t large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go, that’s fine; just rotate it and count 2 seconds for each section you submerge into the water.
Place both the rice papers (one on top of the other) on a board or the counter with the smooth side down.
On the top part of the rice paper, place 3 prawns with a mint leaf in between.
Place some vermicelli noodles and bean sprouts in a lettuce leaf, and scrunch together lightly in your hand to make a bundle that holds together.
Place the lettuce bundle with the seam side down onto the middle of the rice paper.
Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in; then roll up, starting from the bottom.
Serve immediately with the peanut dipping sauce.
Adapted from recipetineats.com
¾ pound milk chocolate
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
5–10 drops of mint extract
Heat milk and chocolate until melted. Add butter, vanilla, and mint and mix well.
Pour into an 8 x 8 pan, lined with plastic wrap. Keep cool until ready to serve.
Adapted from Jeanne Dalton’s recipe
Photos by Cherie Stewart