Irani Chai or Hyderabadi Dum Chai – the extra rich creamy tea gifted by the Persian travellers of yesteryears…
2021 has begun. Not that many of us are extra hopeful, but yes, a lot of us look forward to the year with a lot of positivity, that things will be better that 2020. With the way the news reads, it doesn’t seem to look that great but I guess, it is all about holding on to faith and making sure that we do what we can do to the best of our capacity. With life set for a change very soon, I am very much looking forward to the near future with abated breath. It is not only in my life, but also on this blog some change is expected, so stay tuned! 🙂
Chai is love, as far as I am concerned. Just a couple of weeks back, I had an interesting conversation with a fellow food blogger. Her question was, when tea has been around as a preferred hot drink for decades – or maybe centuries! -, why has it all of a sudden become popular? It got me thinking. True, tea has been there as a part of Indian food habits for time immemorial. I don’t want to go into history with regards to this. We are more of a tea drinking nation than a coffee one. Of late, with cafes popping up everywhere, we are slowly tilting towards coffee more for the ambiance than taste. If you ask me, I would always prefer a cup of chai in a glass from any road side shop, made freshly and served. That feeling is totally indescribable… 🙂
For this month’s AtoZ Challenge, the letter is “T” and tea was the ingredient that came into my head by default. I didn’t think of anything else! Even though my go-to everyday in the evening is my regular cup of chai, sometimes I like to test something different. So it may be the Adeni Chai or the Yuan Yang or the simple Adraki Chai, depending totally on the mood. My initial idea was to replicate the Persian style black tea, that has such good memories of my starting work days. I even kept the ingredients ready, but then I kept watching videos of Irani Chai aka Hydrebadi Dum Chai, that I found it hard to resist the temptation.
My readers will very well know that I don’t like to dwell around too much on the origin, but this was so interesting that I am sharing the link if you would love to know how this rich chai became a part of our culture. One word of warning though – this is not your lazy cup of chai. It takes some time and effort to make it. The ones made at home is what can be done with our limited resources. The tea concoction is made by boiling the tea powder in water on dum, till it gets nice and thick. The milk is boiled separately till reduced, along with “mawa”, which is rich milk solids. Both are then mixed into the serving cup as per requirement and served hot with some Osmania biscuits.
Since I find it difficult to find mawa here, I substituted it with condensed milk. You may use some milk powder too. I thought keeping both the pans side by side and letting it do it’s work wouldn’t disturb any of your schedule. The tea needs to be cooked in steam, so I kept my mortar and pestle on top of the lid. If you are in a better mood, you may make a dough out of flour and seal the edges to avoid the steam from escaping. The color of tea concoction after this process is a deep amber color, a beauty in itself, but so strong that it may knock your sock off! Just saying…
The tea is quite strong and has a different flavor to it due to the creaminess. I am sure that not everybody will like it, since HD found it extremely rich and creamy. I found this to be a treat. I guess just looking at the above click will give you an idea how strong it is. I was trying to click quickly before the chai would go cold and hence some shaken blurry clicks. 😀 Definitely worth a try for all those times when you need something like a treat…
Irani Chai | Hydrebad Dum Tea
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 tbsp black tea powder
- 3 cardamom pods optional but recommended
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2-3 heaped tbsp condensed milk
- Sugar as needed
- In a saucepan, add the water, tea powder and cardamom pods. Bring to boil. Close the pan with a tight lid and keep something heavy on top. Keep on simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan, boil the milk. Keep on low flame, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, till the milk thickens and reduces to almost half - around 15 minutes.
- Add the condensed milk and cook for another five minutes.
- Once the thick tea concoction is done, strain the mixture and add to the thickened milk. Bring to a boil and switch off.
- Sweeten as per desire, and divide into cups. Serve immediately.
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