How do you use an Electric Bakhoor Burner (Mabkhara)?
How do you burn Bakhoor with Charcoal?
How do you burn Bakhoor without a burner or Mabkhara?
Which is Better?
So you have your Bakhoor and it smells AMAZING! You want to burn it so you can quickly get the scent of the Bakhoor floating throughout the house. You decide to look into Bakhoor burners, also known as a Mabkhara. You find the perfect one that calls out to your soul. You buy it, take it home, and realize it’s an electric burner. Well, there goes the charcoal you bought. Now what?
Rest assured. There’s nothing to worry about. Actually many people prefer the electric burners over the ceramic or clay burners which may require charcoal for burning. An electric Mabkhara comes with its own benefits. For one, you never need charcoal. You can burn the Bakhoor right on the top of the Mabkhara’s hot plate. These types of Mabakhar use electricity as the source of heat. They come with a cord that can be plugged into an outlet. Once plugged in and turned on, the plate gets hot enough to burn the Bakhoor. Viola! Your house turns into a home with the Aromas of Arabia flowing throughout.
Keeping with the genre of electric Mabakhar, there are other types of Mabakhar that can be powered within the cabin of a car. For the avid Bakhoor user, a simple air freshener that hangs on the mirror does not suffice. So they use a Mabkhara that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car causing it to power up, working in the same way the home electric Mabkhara does. The plate on top gets hot, Bakhoor is placed on top of the hot plate and the scent is released. Instead of a simple air freshener hanging idle in a window, the car has transformed into a relaxing space of fragrance and pleasant aromas giving a mellow feeling while driving. Now they are driving in luxury.
So how do you use the electric Mabkhara?
The best way to start is first by covering the hot plate where the Bakhoor will burn with aluminum foil. This is highly recommended. The reasoning behind this is when the Bakhoor starts to burn, it will leave ashen burn marks on the plate staining it. It would also burn so profusely as to cause some Bakhoor to get “glued” on to the plate as well. Once it cools off, it becomes difficult to scrape clean. Over time the residual Bakhoor can build up causing a layer of “dead” Bakhoor to be left behind, making it difficult for the new Bakhoor to receive the required heat to burn properly.
So the way to combat this is with a layer of aluminum foil. The aluminum foil protects the plate while transferring the heat through to the Bakhoor. Once the Bakhoor is placed on top, it can be left there to burn to its completion. You don’t have to cover the hot plate completely with aluminum foil. Just enough for the Bakhoor to sit on. The aluminum foil is simply used as a barrier between the hot plate and the Bakhoor. The Bakhoor is burned efficiently this way and does not give you that “burned” smell once the scent is finished.
Even though this may sound like an ideal way to burn Bakhoor, it does have its drawbacks. For instance, once the Mabkhara is plugged in, you have to keep it plugged. If the cord is unplugged from the source of power, the plate cools down no longer burning the Bakhoor. This can be a hassle if you wish to walk around the house and disperse the smoke throughout as is custom in the Arab World. You can only stay in the one spot the Mabkhara is plugged into.
The other drawback depends on the user; referring to the preferred smell of the Bakhoor. When using charcoal, the Bakhoor releases a more earthy tone, giving the scent of a natural organic feel. The comparison that comes to mind is like being at a BBQ. Some prefer to BBQ with wood and charcoal, while others use propane. This is the comparison between the non-electric and the electric Mabakhar. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the users’ preference.
There is also the difference of price between the two Mabakhar as well. The cost of the electric Mabkhara tends to be a bit more expensive than the regular ceramic or clay Mabkhara, for obvious reasons. These Mabakhar can run between 3 to 4 times more expensive than their non-electric counterparts.
Another concern would be using the Mabkhara in a place with no electricity. Say you’re camping, at the beach, at a Bonfire or in a room where all the electric outlets are being used. Trying to figure out where to power the electric Mabkhara can be a hassle at times. This is where the non-electric Mabkhara shines. All that is needed is a piece of charcoal and a light and you are ready to go. You are able to change the course of the evening from a dull night to relaxing and enjoying the pleasantly scented evening with the swipe of a match.
All that is needed is a ceramic or clay Mabkhara, aluminum foil, an Instant lighting charcoal (preferable for fast lighting) and the Bakhoor. Once you place the aluminum foil barrier down on the plate of the Mabkhara, you light the coal on top of the aluminum foil and wait for it to turn gray in color. Once it is all gray, you take a little bit of Bakhoor (not much is needed. Just a pinch) and sprinkle it on the hot coal. Instantly the smoke will rise and you will see a change in mood and atmosphere as the fragrance travels throughout.
There are Pros here to each style of Mabkhara.
With the Non-Electric Burner/Mabkhara
With the non-electric Mabkhara, the first noticeable difference would be price. These types are usually cheaper than the electric ones. Within the types of non-electric Mabakhar, the prices can vary according to design which brings us to our next advantage.
Beauty. The ceramic and clay Mabakhar tend to be more exotic and beautiful than the metal electric ones. They come in different shapes and sizes. Some are even fashioned to resemble roses, daggers, a chalice and more. Some come tiny and others come huge. Some come with compartments to hold the charcoal and Bakhoor and some are made of wood. With the non-electric Mabakhar you have more options when choosing styles and being more unique and personable with your choices. There is also the fact that it is extremely mobile. You can take it and use it anywhere. No electricity or batteries needed. Light a coal and off you go.
Finally, as mentioned above, the scent itself. When using charcoal the scent of the Bakhoor gives off a more natural and organic vibe. It is more rustic and earthy compared to the electric counterpart.
With the Electric Burner/Mabkhara.
When using the electric Mabkhara, the user would not have to worry about buying charcoal again. You wouldn’t face a situation where you’d find yourself running out of coal and having to make a store run to that one store that sells that special charcoal.
Another great thing about the electric Mabkhara is that they are mostly made of metal. Therefore, if it falls, the chance of shattering is lower (almost 0% chance) compared to the non-electric Mabkhara.
You also get a two for one. Once you decide to make the small investment into the electric Mabkhara, you will notice that once it is unplugged, it can also be used as a regular Mabkhara. Putting the aluminum foil barrier (as mentioned above) on the hot plate, a charcoal can then be lit and placed on top. Then the Bakhoor can be burned on the charcoal. This works like a regular Mabkhara. Now you can go mobile, taking the scent of the Bakhoor throughout the house into every room, nook and cranny.
Let’s say that you are convinced that Bakhoor has some great scents and you are definitely ready to try some. But you don’t think you’re quite ready to make an investment into a Mabkhara. You’re wondering to yourself… “What are my options?”
We are here to tell you Buy the Bakhoor!
Some people who smoke hookah would use the plate surrounding the hookah head to put down a weak burning charcoal, and place their Bakhoor on there. This way they are not wasting a hot coal and they can also change the fragrance of the room they are smoking in. If you want, a new burning charcoal can be used on this plate as well. It is made of metal and its specific use is for holding hot burning coals. So for those who have this option, you can use it for your Bakhoor burning.
Others can use a ceramic or clay ashtray. Avoid the cheap plastic ashtrays if you can. An aluminum foil would be folded many times and placed on the ashtray. Then a coal would be lit and placed on the aluminum foil. Then the Bakhoor would be placed on top of the burning coal. In a way, it is a simple homemade Mabkhara. May not be as pretty or decorative, but it gets the job done.
The last method used involves aluminum foil as well (do you see a trend with the Aluminum foil here). Some people would place the aluminum foil on the burner of the stove, turn the flame on and once the aluminum foil heats up, while keeping the flame going on low, would place their Bakhoor on top, letting in burn slowly. Again, not the prettiest method, but it also gets the job done.
As always, use safety precautions and never leave a burning coal unattended. Never should you turn your sight away from both, an actively burning charcoal with Bakhoor, or an electric Mabkhara plugged into a power source. Always keep out of reach of children and pets. Keep the burning Bakhoor up high and away from children and pets and keep away from any curtains, clothing, hair or other flammable mediums. Don’t throw hot Bakhoor or charcoal in the garbage. Always make sure the charcoal and Bakhoor is completely cooled down or doused with water. Make sure that the electric Mabkhara is always unplugged when walking away from it. Keep all electric objects away from water or spills. Always be conscious and aware of what you are doing at all times.
Whichever way you decide to burn your Bakhoor is up to you. As long as you get to enjoy your favorite scents, then there is no wrong way. It’s all a preference. The important thing is extracting your chosen aroma, giving you the experience we all should share, the enjoyment of the Scents of Arabia.