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How to Make Indian Tea

Monday, 23 November 2009

In the name of God, Compassionate, Merciful بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

In the name of God, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

There are several recipes to traditional Indian tea since its origins are Chinese. Some call this Iranian, Pakistani or Bengali: Whatever, this is one method I learnt.

My Father's Mug ©

An educational trip:
  • I suggest semi-skimmed milk instead of the desired full fat as semi (and skimmed) has a healthier fat content. This tea is milky so go with your usual flow.
  • This tea is made in a saucepan: use less water = less heat energy = less food waste, for Allah does not love the wasters!
  • A whole article could be written on the history and lessons of tea leaves. Typical 'Indian' tea is Darjeeling, but there are 'types' of tea leaves: oolong, herbal, black tea and others. Just use the tea leaves/bag you're used to and go for one with flavour over colour.
  • Use fresh green cardamon pods: bought in packs or loose, they hold a pungent exquisite fragrance when cracked open to expose the encased black seeds.
  • There's no great reward mushing ginger and cinnamon yourself therefore buy in powder form.
  • Lastly, honey comes from honeycomb... you knew that right? Honey is produced from various flowers' nectar which give distinct textures and tastes. I lean towards the acacia flower which makes a heavy but smooth honey, it's more concentrated so less is needed for sweetness.

Suppose that 1 cup = 200ml

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of water
1tbsp of tea leaves
1/4 Semi skimmed milk
2 Cardamon pods
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground ginger
Madeira (brown) sugar (to taste)
1tsp acacia honey

Instructions:
1. Boil water in a saucepan, reduce heat to slow evaporation.
2. Throw in tea leaves, stir and allow 1-2 mins for flavour to infuse. If the tea gives strong colour wait until the right 'shade' is produced to add milk, deeply sour tea is just icky.
3. Add milk, keep on low heat and top up with water if needed.
4. Crack open cardamon pods to scrape out the seeds, add all to saucepan.
5. Add cinnamon, ginger, sugar and honey together. Stir like crazy for 30sec.
6. Increase the heat to max to boil milk-tea mixture.
7. Once the sugar/honey has dissolved and the tea has been brought to the boil (once), turn off the heat, remove saucepan and wait for it to cool. Turn all handles inwards - safety first!
8. Use a metal tea strainer/sieve to separate the cardamon, seeds and leaves.
9. Pour into cup, keep a spoon handy to remove any milk solids during cooling. And...
10. Drink! Don't mess it with cookies, biscuit dipping and stuff. For an ol'school tea you could use a saucer, buy fennel rusks or egg macaroons, but that's only for the posh or public performances.

Well, lemme know if that was too Indian, not Indian at all, or just not your cuppa'tea!

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