Traditional Indian Teas

main-qimg-adaee3ab7be2f4ad8848dcc8e26e0d4c-cAround 10 years ago when I was in the USA I learnt about how cows are factory farmed in inhumane, unnatural conditions and fed with hormones. I decided to go vegan for 6 months and see how I felt. The most difficult thing for me was to get rid of the so called “Indian tea”, made by boiling milk, black tea and sugar. I had a hard time drinking bland tasteless herbal teas. But I told myself it is just a matter of 6 months, honey! Take it as an exercise of will power and self control.

And by the end of 6 months I had started liking herbal teas, my taste buds seemed to have become sensitive and not wanting a strong “kick giving” tastes. I wanted to give myself a treat with Indian tea. Started making myself the treat! And guess what…I could not bear the smell of it! I had to go out of the house while it boiled. After coming back I poured it into my cup and tried drinking it. But I felt like throwing up. Instead I threw away the tea.

I was very surprised how my taste buds had changed. Think for yourself what could be the health benefits of the Indian tea and then think for yourself what could be the health benefits of herbal teas (mint, lemongrass, bergamot, tulsi, oregano, thyme, and so many more).

Last year I went to India and my family members were forcing us to have the Indian tea. And we made fun of how it is not an Indian tea but a british tea and how we are still the slaves of the British :-). I visited a restaurant in Mysore and ordered a “Kashaya” and then it struck me that THIS is the INDIAN TEA 🙂

So I have been making herbal teas and Kashaya at home. Here is a very simple recipe. I make garam masala at home since I do not eat chillis, instead use black pepper. After sieving the garam masala I transfer the left over to a bottle (lets call it garam masala husk :-)) to use in Kashayas. Now here is the recipe for a kashaya:

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 tsp clove powder.
  2. 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder.
  3. 1/2 tsp black pepper powder.
  4. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
  5. 1/2 tsp cardamom powder.
  6. 1 tsp of xanthum gum powder(dinka in marathi). This gives the tea the desired thickness.
  7. 2 tsp of garam masala husk.
  8. 5 cups of water.
  9. 2 tablespoons honey.

Mix all ingredients except honey. Boil until the quality halves. Let it cool a bit and add honey and drink warm!

Today I had it with barley flour samosas and stone ground cilantro-mint-tamarind chutney 🙂

 

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Passion Flower Tea

Passion-Flower-11

Have passion flower trees in abundance here. Sour and Sweet varieties both. Today, for the first time made tea with flowers from sour bush because we cannot eat too many of its sour fruits.
And it was so soothing!

Interesting information about this flower:

“The “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:

Blue passion flower (P. caerulea) showing most elements of the Christian symbolism
The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
The blue and white colors of many species’ flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
The flower has been given names related to this symbolism throughout Europe since that time. In Spain, it is known as espina de Cristo (“Christ’s thorn”). Older Germanic names include Christus-Krone (“Christ’s crown”), Christus-Strauss (“Christ’s bouquet”), Dorn-Krone (“crown of thorns”), Jesus-Lijden (“Jesus’ passion”), Marter (“passion”) or Muttergottes-Stern (“Mother of God’s star”).

Outside the Christian heartland, the regularly shaped flowers have reminded people of the face of a clock. In Israel they are known as “clock-flower” (שעונית) and in Greece as “clock plant” (ρολογιά); in Japan too, they are known as tokeisō (時計草, “clock plant”). In Hawaiian, they are called lilikoʻi; lī is a string used for tying fabric together, such as a shoelace, and liko means “to spring forth leaves”.

In India, blue passionflowers are called Krishnakamala in Karnataka and Maharashtra, while in Uttar Pradesh and generally north it is colloquially called “Paanch Paandav”. The flower’s structure lends itself to the interpretation along the lines of five Pandavas, the Divine Krishna at centre, and the opposing hundred at the edges. The colour blue is moreover associated with Krishna as colour of his aura.

Passiflora ‘Soi Fah’ aka Krishnakamala in India
In northern Peru and Bolivia, the banana passionfruits are known as tumbos. This is one possible source of the name of the Tumbes region of Peru.

In Turkey shape of the flowers have reminded people of Rota Fortunae thus it called Çarkıfelek.”

passionflower-tea

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