DIY BAKHOOR; MAKING YOUR OWN OUD INCENSE USING WOOD CHIPS AT HOME
Bukhoor (bakhoor) is a favorite Arab incense used as part of daily life. Its part and parcel of its culture and has been used for centuries. The tradition in many Middle Eastern cultures and among East Africa (the Muslim community) is to fumigate ones home, clothes, body etc with the incense at least every day or (almost) essential on Friday before Friday Prayers. Oud (good quality) can be very expensive (sometimes more expensive than pure gold!). Hence usually out of reach for many households. However, you can make the cheaper chips more fragrant by the addition of fragrant arabian parfum oils or pure extract etc. Here is our recipe on how to make a nice perfumery oudh incense using these cheaper pieces of agarwood chips soaked in arabic perfumes. You can use this bahoor (smoke) to fumigate your home or body. This is a basic personal and easy homemade Arabic bakhoor recipe, handed down to me from my great grandmother and this is the recipe that her parents (probably) used before her (circa 1900).
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SYRUP COATING
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (NOT ESSENTIAL- to be added in the sugar syrup)
HOW TO MAKE ARABIC BAKHOOR AT HOME
After about 4-6 hours start making the sugar syrup coating
Due to an increasing number of messages that I have received in regard to some mistakes that many have not been able to get the sugar coating right, thus ending with bakhoor that is still water logged and does not burn well or burns unsatisfactory. To make it more relevant to where you are worldwide, please note down the food that I am relating to in your own part of the world which you would probably be familiar with. You will need the sugar syrup coating made as the foods I will list here, if you have never made this food, then observe anyone who makes them and follow their advice in regard to the sugar coating. The sugar coating needed for the bakhoor is the same as :
1) East Africa: Sugar syrup should be made same as for vishete, mitai, baobao candy
Somalia: Sugar syrup same as for kalkals/shushumow.
2) Malaysia: Sugar syrup should be made same same as kuih keria.
3) India: Sugar syrup should be made same as for shakar para.
More information and tips
1) SAFETY/HAZARDS: Do not use any other wood chips than those specifically available from specialist perfumery shops to be used specially for making this kind of Bakhoor. These Bakhoor sticks burn well, do not attract water and do not produce any poisonous smoke when burnt.
2)The best oud is pure Agarwood, which is formed by the formation of the resin from the Agar wood trees when infected. The agar wood used here is the cheapest grade wood chip, hence cheaper in price which is more affordable.
3)The parfum extract (attar oil) used in this recipe is also available in specialist Middle Eastern perfumery shops. They come in different scents and in beautiful bottles that are a decoration in themselves.
4) TOLA is the unit of measure used to measure the Arabic heavy attar oils.
5) Do not add too much cardamom,cinnamon, clove or rose water if using. These are just required in small amounts so as not to overpower the parfum itself used to soak the agarwood. I personally omit these when making the syrup but I am handing over to you, the original recipe as it was handed down to me by my great grandmother and she by hers too!
6) Like any other recipe, you can add more or less depending on personal preference and availability. You can personalise your own bakhoor by addition of your own favorite or local incense perfumery.
7) The quality of the incense made will depend on the grade of wood chip and boukhoor oil used. If you are cooking this at home for commercial purposes, It would be advisable to cook in big batches as with natural oud itself, it is not easy to recreate the exact smell with each batch! Remember, the type of wood will be affected by its age, location etc
8)2 STRING CONSISTENCY means the syrup formed should be thick. To test- put a drop on a plate: the drop should pull and hold together (like a dew drop on a leaf) if it goes flat - then it is still too thin and should be cooked some more. However once you have reached the 2 consistency stage, you need to be quick at it will be go into the next stage of 'gathered/ball consistency' which will harden forming a toffee ball therefore becomes hard to coat the wood.
9) DO NOT ADD ANY COLOUR WHEN COOKING THE OOUD. The oud colour (usually brown or blackish/greyish) is due to the colour of the wood used and the perfum used. It is not due to any colour added at any process of the oud making.