TripAdvisor Review

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The place of Tea in Indian Culture

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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:
Ginger Tea
Masala Chai
Parsi Chai
Cardamom Tea
Teas of India Cookbook

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Parsi Kitchen Nostalgia – A Trip Down The Food-Memory Lane

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by Dara Khodaiji Our love for food is legendary! The way to the Parsi/Irani heart is definitely through the stomach, gender immaterial! No occasion is complete without good food. And as much as we love attending functions and events, it’s the “kaun nu catering chhe?” that forms the larger part of the decision. PT Writer […]

A Parsi Story: Sugar in the Milk

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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 / […]

PGH & RTI COLLABORATE WITH SEVA KITCHEN

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The Sir Ratan Tata Institute is happy to collaborate with the Seva Kitchen initiative to provide free meals to OPD patients & admitted patient’s relatives at the B. D. Petit Parsee General Hospital. While patients are being looked after and treated at the hospital, the relatives or care givers often neglect their own well-being as […]

Have You Met the Parsis

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Picture books that introduce children to Parsis New Delhi– Here are two gorgeously illustrated picture books on the culture and lives of lesser-known communities in India, starting with the first two books in the Have You Met series (Penguin Random House India), for younger kids to know the culture and customs, the heritage and food habits, […]

Happy Womens Day

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Presenting to you the lovely and dynamic team of women behind RTI! We are eternally grateful to Lady Navajbai Ratan Tata for having started this wonderful institute and giving us all a place to stand strong and independently even in today’s day and age. Being financially independent is definitely a goal and necessity for most […]

Chapat

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Chapat Recipe from Cookbook “Parsi Cuisine Manna of the 21st Century” by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Happy Republic Day to all in India

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Happy Republic Day to all in India

Shab-e Yalda: When Light Shines and Goodness Prevails

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Yalda on December 21 is celebrated in many parts of the world. Eating watermelon in the winter is believed to keep you healthy in the new year. Watermelon seeds are one of the items in the health food – parsi vasanu and the gujarati word is “char jat nu magaj”. Pumpkin and Watermelon seeds keep […]

Happy Diwali and a very prosperous New Year

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Trivia Game for Diwali

Diwali Recipes

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Diwali Recipes

2023 Harvard Interfaith Meal-Packaging Service Project

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2023 Harvard Interfaith Meal-Packaging Service Project It’s that time of the year where we join forces with the Harvard Chaplains and End Hunger New England (part of The Outreach Program) to work side by side with religious and non-religious communities to pack thousands of meal boxes for the Interfaith Meal-Packaging Service Project! This is a campus and community service event for all […]

Celebrating 200 Anniversary of the Surat Shenshahi Astashbehram

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The place of Parsi Batasa and ancient fire temples. On the 200 anniversary of the Surat Shenshahi Astashbehram, a Zoroastrian flag is raised and worshiped. My mother was born in Surat, opposite this atashbehram in a lovely house. 7 siblings, 2 parents and grandparents. The story is I took 1 hour to a egg on […]

A BIG thank you to FEZANA

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A BIG thank you to FEZANA for honouring me with this FEZANA JOURNAL Article in the summer 2023 issue. FEZANA JOURNAL is a great resource on the Zoroastrian Arts, Heritage, History and latest news. #fezana #fezanajournal #parsicuisine #Zoroastrianism #zoroastrian #foodie FEZANA JOURNAL is the official publication for FEZANA. FEZANA JOURNAL is published four times a […]