Friends, do you know the word almost synonymous with the Indian food? If guessed, tandoori, than you are spot on! Although tandoori is Punjabi way of searing the assortments of spiced foodstuffs ranging from chicken, paneer, mutton or lamb. The marinated pieces are skewered in long seekh (iron rods) then roasted by putting them directly into a large coal oven(tandoor). The ‘tandoori chicken tikka masala’ has now gained international fame, specially in Britain. Even ‘tandoori rotis’ and ‘kulcha’ rotis, stuffed with paneer, cauliflower florets or potatoes, dunked in butter are absolute rage among the foodies. But one thing I recently got acquainted with and that is ‘tandoori tea’. Tea and tandoori, the unusual pairing made me confused and curious too.
Tea was first introduced in India about 170 years ago by the British as they started cultivating tea in Indian soil to break the monopoly of China over tea industry. The famous tea rituals of English gentry, percolated slowly among the ‘zamindars'(landlords) of India then gradually common Indians embraced it as their very own. Now we enjoy variety of tea, wether its with milk, raw, spiced, kahwa(Kashmiri)or the green version. Tandoori tea, can be easily termed as the real amalgamation of British and Indian way of living.
Honestly, at first when we visited a tea shop in Kolkata and heard that they serve ‘tandoori chai'(tea), I had no clue whatsoever regarding how do they go about it. With utter amazement I followed that they have put a lot of small clay pots into the coal oven. After preparing milk tea, one of the red hot clay pot was extracted and placed upside down in a brass container. The hot tea was then poured over it.creating a veritable fountain of tea and steam, as if lava is oozing out of a live volcano. Afterwards putting some special spices and dessicated almonds in earthen cup, the tandoored tea was poured onto it from the brass vessel. The taste! You have to have it, to know how to describe the experience.
I’m always game for tasting new and unorthodox recipes and it certainly fell to both the categories. The taste of it is going to remain with me for long time to come!
Do you also like to go on food adventures? I would certainly like to know about them in the comment section.