In the only place in Ahmedabad where you can get Parsi cuisine outside the home, the last Parsi cook looks back at better days. The kitchen of the Zoroastrian Ladies Cooperative Society (ZLCS), in a busy lane in Khanpur in the walled city of Ahmedabad, is brimming with activity. In a corner of the impeccably […]
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
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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 […]
I am Dinyar Patel, a professor of history at the University of South Carolina, currently based in Mumbai on a Fulbright fellowship where I have been researching some aspects of Parsi history. I would like to ask my readers for assistance with one topic of interest: the Parsi connection with the Indian soda or “aerated […]
Parsi recipes travelled from Persia to the beaches of Gujarat, up north India, then to the west of India, east India and south India, acquiring technique and adding new flavours to the food. Pallonji raspberry soda is a popular drink served during Parsi weddings.(Shutterstock) Despite their dwindling population, the Parsis strive to preserve the legacy […]
ParsiCuisine.com has one of the largest collection of free Indian and Parsi / Parsee food recipes, cooking tips, chefs and restaurants. We are expanding this site with fusion foods and to other wonderful people and cultures like Bengali, Gujarati, Goan, Persian, Sindhi, Punjabi, is my Joy. For your convenience we created a recipe index, click […]
#Parsicuisine is a wonderful blend of Persian (Iranian) cuisine Gujarati flavours, Maharashtrian, and British influences.Parsi dishes reveal traces of their Persian past in its use of sweet dried fruit and nuts such as apricots and golden raisins, almonds, or Charoli seeds, and cashews. The most notable part about the Parsi cuisine in India is that it […]
This fish shaped dessert is very popular among the Indian Parsi community. It is molded in the shape of a fish because the fish is a symbol for fertility and good luck. It can be sliced and eaten as dessert. Storage Instructions: Can be kept outside for 2 or 3 days, refrigerated for a couple […]
I would like to take you on a journey into the culture, and nuances of the Parsi Cuisine of India. I would like to present to you the famous Story of Parsi immigration (into India) and their welcome with “Sugar in the Milk”. One of the oldest stories of Sugar and Milk in Parsis (Parsi / […]