Fancy a cup of tandoori chai in Kochi?

Sizzle, smoke and action make this cuppa a performance act with taste

Tandoori is getting a new twist here in Kochi. Move over chicken and kababs, it is tea time. Say hello to tandoori chai, the hottest brew in town, attractive in form and presentation.

Fancy a cup of tandoori chai in Kochi?

Made by placing an earthen cup with chai in a glowing hot tandoor, till it acquires a smoky taste, the beverage, which has its origins in Pune, is finding takers in the city.

Munthirikothu (a mini-restaurant in Kaloor) is one of the first joints to introduce it here.

Often mistaken as another form of masala chai, it turns out that the tandoori chai tastes distinctly different. “Elachi is the main ingredient in masala chai. Tandoori chai gets its flavour from bay leaves and other spices. The smokiness gives it the real essence. It is nothing but a special combination of half-brewed tea with a mixture of aromatic spices. It is popular with youngsters,” says Niju Sainuddin, owner of Munthirikothu.

Though it initially met with a muted response, tandoori chai gradually caught the fancy of youngsters. The rush in the shop begins late afternoon, with people arriving from far and wide to sample the tea.

There are variations and innovations to the tandoori chai. Cafe Temptation in Aluva has introduced flavours such as Bournvita, Horlicks and Boost, all served in the tandoori way.

Fancy a cup of tandoori chai in Kochi?

“One major distinction in our way of making tandoori chai is that we use milk. We try to avoid extra water in the milk as it is only used to blend the spices in the tea,” say Rahim and Mohammed Fazil, owners of the cafe.

The popularity of the drink is such that NRIs too are curious about it.

“To me, it is presentation—the making and the serving— that makes it unique, maybe even more than its taste. The thickness of the tea is a major factor that gives it the unique flavour. I also found a little similarity to the taste of Qatar’s famous Karak tea,” says food blogger Rahul N Kutty.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 12:04:23 PM |

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