Egyptian Breathmints – Kyphi (κυ̑φι), Kapet
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Egyptian Breathmints - Kyphi, Kapet

Kyphi, as it was called in Greek, or Kapet, in Egyptian, was an ancient Egyptian incense concoction that was also made into a sucking candy and used to freshen breath. This recipe is based on Papyrus Ebers from the 9th year of Amenhotep I, which is how the Egyptians would have eaten it in 2nd millennium BCE.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Egyptian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 g Myrrh Resin Dry
  • 15 g Pine Nuts
  • 15 g Frankincense Resin Dry
  • 4 g Musta Root (Cyperus Rotundus) Ground or Sticks
  • 4 g Cinnamon (Cinnamonum camphora or Cinnamonum verum) Ground or Sticks
  • 8 g Mastic Gum (Chios Mastiha)
  • 8 g Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon jwarancusa or Cymbopogon schoenanthus) Fresh
  • 4 g Turkish Storax (Styrax Officianale) Sticks
  • 168 g Honey Liquid

Instructions

  • Grind all of the ingredients, except for honey using either mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. It is better to grind each ingredient individually and only then mix them together.
    Kyphi - Some ingredients in the mortar
  • Add all of the ground ingredients and honey to a sauce pan.
    Kyphi - All ingredients in the pan
  • Bring the mixture to a boil. Continue boiling for 10 minutes while constantly mixing the mixture with a wooden spoon. The mixture will reduce and become thicker.
    Kyphi - Cooked Mixture after 10 minutes
  • Filter the reduced mixture through a strainer while it is still hot. It will take about 10 minutes for the infused honey to drip down through the strainer.
    Kyphi - Filtering the cooked mixture through a strainer
  • The strained liquid will look like a thick black mass. It should not have any large particles in it. If necessary strain it twice. By now the liquid should have cooled off enough to be touched with hands.
  • Pour the strained liquid onto a plate and start rolling the liquid into small bite size balls with your hands.
  • Lay out the balls on a glass plate and let them solidify. To speed up the process they may be placed into the refrigerator.
    Kyphi - Final Product
  • Serve.
    Egyptian Breathmints – Kyphi (κυ̑φι), Kapet

Notes

All of the rare ingredients in this recipe can be ordered on Amazon from various sellers. Ingredients were shipped from a variety of countries - Egypt, France, Greece, and USA.
The final product turned out to be nice, as you can see on the photos. However, the taste is definitely an acquired taste. It has a very strong taste of a mixture of tree resins, which makes it bitter, kind of like a mixture of very strong Turkish coffee and a burning sensation felt after smoking a Cuban cigar. The tree resins overpower the lemon grass and honey, although you can still taste the honey. It does improve the breath (I tried it on a few family members, all of whom said that I smell like burned tree sap :-)) and the taste remains in your mouth for hours. I could not get rid of it even after eating a bunch of bread and drinking grapefruit juice.
The texture is of a sticky soft candy, which is nice.
I can see this being quite a popular candy today, if all of the tree resins are replaced with oranges, lemons or berries.