Léeh

My Magazine 2022/03
2 min
You have heard of the famous Gambian beverage called attaya many times. It is among the first things you learn about when you plan to visit the Gambia or are already staying here for a few days. However, another hot beverage is quite known in The Gambia and is prepared in a similar way as attaya, called léeh.

Like attaya, léeh is a social beverage that connects people and creates a social moment. Léeh is a suitable replacement for attaya for those who don't like attaya's addictive effects.

Léeh is prepared with only milk and water. Mint, vanilla flavour, sugar and salt are added to give flavour and make it tasty. It is simpler to prepare than attaya. Milk in a can (the most popular is Peak) is used, either condensed or evaporated.

To prepare léeh, put the milk in the 'barada' (the tea brewing pot) and add water. Put it on the fire and let it warm a little. Add a pinch of salt to the taste. Add vanilla flavour and mint. Measure half of the attaya cup (or less) of sugar and add it to the teapot. Let it boil. Milk boils quickly, so you have to check every minute not to boil the milk over the pot and fire. Take it off the fire if it begins to rise and place it back in some time. Continue like that until the milk is well boiled.

After cooking the léeh, it is time to make the foams. The process is the same as with attaya foaming. Pour léeh in one glass and start pouring it alternatingly in two glasses until the foams form in both cups. Return the léeh in the pot and put it back to the fire to warm it while you wash the exteriors of the glasses to get rid of the stickiness. Do not wash the inside of the glasses once you have already made the foams.

The importance of the foams is to make the glass look full when the léeh or attaya is in it. A brewer's skill can be tested by how well léeh or attaya foams are made. It also reveals the quality of the léeh.

After rinsing the glasses, pour the léeh into each glass and serve. Léeh is also served in small amounts.

Note: If you don't like sugar at all, the mint and vanilla will be enough. If you are using condensed milk, it is not advisable to add sugar since the milk already has a high sugar concentration.

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