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Bringing in monsoon with Tandoori Chai!

Bringing in monsoon with Tandoori Chai!

If you haven’t heard about the Tandoori Chai in India, you’re probably living under a rock! This sizzling hot cuppa, has been breaking the internet ever since it was spotted for the first time in a café of Pune called Chai-La. Since then people have not only been digging its rustic taste, but also marvelling over how the humble chai was given a tandoori tadka and reinvented into bubbling hot wonder. The best news however is, that this new hot chai has recently entered the land of foodies Indore, and has already become a crazy trend among the chai lovers. With two different cafés serving it, and a couple of more eager to take up the idea, tandoori chai has become talk of the town All of 30 years, Iqbal Khan co-owner of Rustik Mej had been really fascinated by this makeover of India’s favourite beverage while in Pune. After sipping on it, even he couldn’t deny that there was something so distinct about it that one cannot stop at just one cup, and soon as he came back to Indore he couldn’t wait to launch it “I was very impressed by the concept. And it was a time when our café in Indore was relatively new. I thought why not bring in the tadka home, to a city full of people who run on chai! And people here love innovation in their food.” And so began the journey of Tandoori Chai in Indore from the bustling corporate bylane of AB Road. However, Iqbal was not the only one to have thought of giving Indore a taste of tandoor in chai, just a couple of days after he launched it, another café by the road in Bhanwarkun, Fursat Chai announced its arrival too. The café which is in the heart of a busy street surrounded by hostels and coaching classes is frequented by students for their daily cuppa. “The response has been phenomenal. With the city getting sporadic rains, students have been thronging here more for this unusual chai. After a day or two of its launch, we have been serving at least 500 cups daily!” shares an ecstatic Shiva Gurjar, who owns the place and brought in the concept to that side of the city.

How is this chai stirring up a storm!

More than the taste, it is the unique process of making that has been getting the citizens hooked to this flavour of chai. Even though everyone has seen the videos from Chai-la for umpteen times, Nitin Agarwal, a worker who has been making these cuppas daily breaks it down for us. “The round kulhads are heated in the tandoor for at least half an hour before we start serving the tea. A semi-cooked preparation of chai, complete with subtle falvours of elaichi is kept in a dispenser by the counter. When hot tea is poured into a red hot pre-heated kulhad, it sizzles and acquires the sondhi mitti ki khushbu and charred goodness from the earthen vessel. This infused concoction is then transferred into yet another vessel that is used to pour it into serving kulhads.” Nitin goes on to add that it is essential for the chai to be semi-cooked, or else it will just smell of burnt milk.

Some like it sweet, but we like it tandoori The new makeover of chai has been quite a crowd puller in the city, and add to it the overcast weather, which is making everyone rush for a hot cuppa. “Being a tea lover I had tasted a variety of tea at other places. But nothing comes close to the earthy flavours this variation brings in” shares Aashal Rai while savouring the taste on a rainy evening. The cafes we visited over two days have been constantly flooded with people who have been thronging to these places to try out something new. Shivam Anand, a foodie who found out about the new chai, came looking for the café in AB Road, just have one taste of it. “The texture of the chai is so unique that it makes you want to have more. It truly brings out the spirit of monsoon. You know the enticing smell of wet earth or as we call it mitti ki khushbu, makes home in your senses after you sip of this cup of chai.” Many patrons have also been rushing to these chai places just to have a selfie with their cup of tandoori chai and let the world know that Indore is in the game too. “When I had noon cha and butter chai in Ladhak, I thought that was it, but this tandoori chai is a different ball game! As soon as I got to know about it, I grabbed a couple of friends and headed over to the Bhanwarkuan outlet to try it out for myself, and let my other buddies in different cities know about the sizzling new variety of chai” says Garima Bhandari, a media professional who was spotted enjoying and clicking pictures with her cup. Tea lovers, this monsoon will have something to obsess over. With this new kind of tea winning hearts, seems like we are all set for the rains, whenever it comes!

- With inputs from Udbhavi Upadhyay

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