By Meher Mirza It’s a fight for a seat, and sometimes, a chicken leg, at the Parsi gahambar that celebrates an age-old tradition of praying and feasting. At 8 pm on March 21, stewards from legendary caterer Tanaz Godiwala’s team were on stand-by like soldiers awaiting a general’s order, even as a line of cooks […]
Corona virus has affected this food ritual in 2021. Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TsfXY3CWEo Bring in the rain! Parsi Custom of bringing in rains by an community effort of collecting Rice, Dal and Ghee to make Khichri. Click here for a Aryuvedic Khichri Recipe Click here for Vaghareli Khichri Recipe In Navsari (a small town in the Gujarat […]
Dear Friends, I pray all of you are safe, well and in good spirit:) I hope this year is much better in every way for everyone than last year! Dear Friends, with your support of my Spring and Fall Fundraisers last year, I was able to raise $10,000 for our future ZAKOI Center. These fundraisers […]
Online Cooking Class Demo Parsi Desserts of Sev, Custard and Ravo
Hello We are OPEN at the HIMALAYA RESTAURANT AND CATERING in Houston, Texas, USA. Web: http://himalayarestauranthouston.com/ Hello all, I would like to introduce a fantastic Chef Kaiser, Azra and the team from 16 families at the Himalaya Restaurant & Catering. Houston, Texas. Food, drinks, desserts are available for delivery and pickup. During this impossibly difficult […]
Chapat Recipe from Cookbook “Parsi Cuisine Manna of the 21st Century” by Rita Jamshed Kapadia
The place of Tea in Indian Culture
Indians love tea, they are crazy about it – and they even have a special word for it – chai.
India is one of the largest tea growers in the world. Tea is grown in the north and the south – in exotic places like Munnar in Kerala, Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri Mountains. The tea gardens are a sight to see. Beautiful terraces are carved into the earth and from far they look like manicured gardens. Tea from Darjeeling and Assam is world famous for its aroma and taste.
Tea was introduced in India by the British during early 1900’s, those were early days of the British Raj. Large swaths of land were converted for mass tea-production. Ironically, the British introduced tea in India to break the Chinese monopoly. Tea was originally consumed by the westernized Indians, but it became widely popular over time. Today, looking at the popularity of tea one cannot tell of its origins from China.
But the story of story of tea in India goes beyond the tea gardens in exotic mountains and valleys, covered with mist and lush greenery. Tea is woven intricately into the Indian social fabric.
Chai is the common equalizer in India – from the rich to the poor. No matter what their position in life, an Indian relishes a cup of tea. The rich ones have their tea served in fancy tea-pots, delicate porcelain cups on well laid out tables with cookies and pastries. The not-so-affluent have it in more humble settings. But the joy and satisfaction is the same.
No matter where you go in India, even the remote village, you are likely to find a tea-stall, with a Chai-walla brewing the concoction, squeezing every last flavor. There is always a crowd of eager and tired folks waiting patiently for their chai. Tea re-vitalizes your body. It is a great anti-oxidant.
India has one of the largest railway networks in the world. Every train station has tea-stalls. Hawkers carry tea-buckets doling out hot cups to weary travelers as the trains pull into the train stations. One of my enduring memories growing up in India is traveling on the train in the sleeper-coach and waking up to the lilting calls of the tea-hawkers.
There are many stories of how tea brings people together. When you visit friends – tea and snacks are probably the most common offering. A cup of tea bonds friendships and heals differences. A guest rejecting an offer of a cup of tea may even hurt their feelings. The ultimate bonding is sharing a cup of tea – between two people – albeit in different saucers. When you visit a commercial establishment, as a sign of respect for the customer, tea is offered. Read more in my cookbook for Tea.
Recently, I was invited to speak and present “The Place of Tea in Indian Culture and the Kerala Tea Gardens” at the Boston Athenaeum. Here is a short synopsis. I am delighted that my Cookbooks were displayed and showcased in the museum! Thanks Hannah Weisman! Hannah is the Director of Education at Boston Athenaeum.
The museum is a historical place and encourages historical books. The Boston Athenaeum is steeped in history. Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States.
Tea / Chai Recipes:
Teas of India Cookbook
More on The place of Tea in Indian Culture on ParsiCuisine.com
Ancient cooking book “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia. Re-print paperback and digital free download.
Free PDF of the cooking books “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia is available on this ParsiCuisine.com website. Click here to DOWNLOAD the digital version PDF (Volume 1) (file will open in new tab) Click here to DOWNLOAD the digital version PDF (Volume 2) (file will open in new tab) Order the REPRINT of “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai […]
Do you….. Do you want a cookbook but don’t know where to start? Already have a cookbook and want to take it up a notch? Want to cook you own garden vegetables and fruit? Want to save money on your grocery bill by cooking at home? Want a speaker on cooking topics for your club, […]
Hilarious Parody (Names are purely fictitious) Coomi Kaajwali came to Meherbai’s house to exchange a soiled 500 Rupee note saying, “Meherbai, mari jaaon tamara par thi, please change this meli-gheli note for a nice new crispy one. You see, our entire family of ten members has to attend a lagan this evening and I don’t […]
I am honored to be a Judge for CUISINART. CUISINART is another novel concept event from Calcutta Club USA, building on the exciting foundation of CUISINART for the past three years, the live Indian culinary contest. Fusing food, music and art, Cuisinart will host a fine South Asian style cooking competition among non-professional chefs followed […]
Plan your next party with these low-cost and a better option than paper plates! Save the wastage, and Go Green. Pure Palm Planet Friendly Palm Leaf Plates; Bamboo-Style, Upscale Disposable Dinnerware; All-natural Biodegradable Plates (7″ Square) (25 Pack) ✔️ PURE PALM ECO-FRIENDLY 7″ SQUARE DISPOSABLE PLATES; 100% Sustainable Harvesting From Fallen Palm Leaves; Perfect One-Time-Use […]