domenica 7 aprile 2013

Kyphi: an ancient Egypt scented story part 4: the making of Kyphi

After I wrote about Kyphi, what was and what was its use, about the ingredients and their smell,  here is the recipe of the Egyptian Sacred Incense as I made it. The ingredients (see Kyphi part 3) quantity are calculated to give at the end of the preparation almost 500 grams of the Holy Incense.

1) grind in a mortar one after another, 5 grams of the following materials: storax, calamus, mastic, aleppo pine resin, canphor, arabic gum and asphalatos (see Kyphi part 3); mix well and put aside in a bowl (MIX1);

2) grind in the mortar 27 grams of juniper berries, 15 grams of galbanum resin and 15 grams of galingale rizome; mix well (MIX2);

3) mix together MIX 1 and 2, homogenize to obtain MIX3 and transfer in a bowl;

4) add to MIX3 120 ml of red wine , mix to obtain an homogeneous suspension and leave macerate for one night;

5) the day after, filter the liquid suspension on a cotton cloth, taking out half of the liquid (60 ml) that will be eliminated; clean out the cotton cloth from the paste, trying to recover the most of it and put aside (MIX4);

6) in the mortar grind as well possible 60 grams of raisins til you get a fine paste; transfer to a  bowl and add 75 grams of Date wine and mix all (MIX5);

7) mix together MIX4 and MIX5 to get homogeneized MIX6 and let macerate for 5 days;

8) after 5 days, grind finely in the mortar 60 grams of frankincense, very fine, and add 150 grams of date paste previoulsly prepared (see Kyphi part 3); after mixed them well (MIX7), put in a non-stick pan and at low flame, start to warm up the mix, continuosly mixing it. The compound will start to shrink and to become more and more viscous: this is a very delicate phase because needs attention that the compound will not burn but still shrink. Go on til is possible to mix with no difficulty. At the end cool down and put aside;

9) in another non-stick pan take MIX 6 and at low flame again, do the same thing as point 8, taking care to not burn the compound. At the end put aside;

10) in the mortar grind finely 60 grams of myrrh; the mix in the same pan as point 9 MIX6 and MIX7 and always at low flame, homogeneize all (MIX8) : this is a very difficult operation because of the high plasticity of the 2 mixes. Once you have MIX8, add the myrrh and fold well into the compound.

the final result is a sticky dark paste:

 the KYPHI.

Start now the second phase of preparation of Kyphi: the drying of the product. This is a very slow process and can last from several weeks to months. This dark paste has to be reduced in small balls of about 1 cm of diameter to be good to be burned and with the compound already done is not easy. So we go on by degrees, starting to make balls of the size of an egg. Then we leave it dry the external surface for 2-3 days and then we make again smaller balls, paying attention to the stickyness that has to be always less and less as time pass.

My Kyphi today has a very high degree of dryness, even if some of the small balls is still soft, as the drying is still not perfect. Another part is ready to be burned in the small censer and the developed smell description and final remarks will be the subject of the coming post.