On the High Tea menu
Ginger Spiced Chai – An Indian Tea Preparation
Parsi Cumin and Almond ‘Khari’ Biscuit
Pistachio and Saffron Rice Pudding (Kheer)
Cheese Chili Toast Triangles
Isn’t it surprising that India is a predominantly tea drinking nation?
With its hot Indian summers and humid warm monsoons, one would think lassi or even fresh coconut water would be more suited for this top honor, but instead it’s the irreplaceably popular Indian spiced tea ‘Chai’, which is perched high up on a pedestal.
Whether peak of summer or dead of winter, torrential rain or storm; Indians in all parts of the world crave their morning and afternoon cups of steaming hot Chai.
Roadside tea vendors are like the Starbucks of India, catering to the need for limitless cups of tea at all hours of the day, to patrons stopping by for a quick chai, before moving on to their next destination.
And a cup of Chai never stands alone; it’s always accompanied by a generous variety of sweet and savory Indian-style tea snack munchies.
For today’s special post, I’ve dug through the archives of Peri’s Spice Ladle and prepared a mouthwatering Indian High Tea ‘Chai’ menu for you…I’m guessing no one will be hungry for dinner after this wholesome mid-afternoon feast.
This recipe for Ginger Spiced Chai is an easy-to-make version of my favorite beverage, ‘Chai’. Enjoy the delicious unique Indian brew with any or all of my high tea snack ideas below.
3 cups water
1 cup milk
7-8 whole cardamom or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 inch grated fresh ginger (use a lemon zester or chop it up)
4 teaspoons loose tea leaves or 3 bags of black tea
Sugar to your taste
In a deep saucepan on medium flame, heat the water, milk and whole cardamom (crack open the cardamom pods and put the seeds and shells in.)
Wait for the liquid to reach a boil, add ginger and ground cinnamon (if you are using ground cardamom, add it at this point), loose tea/tea bags and sugar.
Let the tea come to a boil and then simmer for 4-5 minutes till the flavors have blended and you see a rich brown color to the tea.
Strain Ginger Spiced Chai into a cup and serve hot with your favorite tea snacks.
‘Khari’ biscuits are basically savory puff pastry dough, baked fresh and crisp, often with a sprinkling of warm spices. Fresh and flaky Parsi ‘Khari’ Biscuit dipped in a cup of hot Chai makes an amazing combination.
Makes 14 ‘khari’ biscuits
1 sheet store bought puff pastry
½ teaspoon cumin seeds*
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, well beaten for the egg wash
* or use a teaspoon of almond meal and ¼ teaspoon of ground cumin.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Using a spice grinder, make a fine powder of the almond and cumin seeds. Add salt to this mix.
Defrost and unfold the puff pastry sheet on a work surface dusted with flour. Use a rolling pin to smooth out the creases in the sheet. Sprinkle the puff pastry liberally with the ground almond-cumin-salt mix.
Fold the sheet into half and run the rolling pin over the folded sheet to press the powder in to the dough. Cut the puff pastry into 14 rectangular pieces and lay them spaced apart on an ungreased baking sheet. You can twist the ‘khari’ biscuit pieces like a bow-tie for a more authentic look or just leave the pieces rectangular.
Using a pastry brush, apply the egg wash to the tops of the puff pastry. Bake the ‘khari’ biscuit at 400F for 15 minutes till they are golden brown, some ovens may need an additional 1-2 minutes.
Cumin & Almond ‘Khari’ Biscuits are best served warm, along with your favorite cuppa…or store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Few treats can be as satisfying as the Indian rice pudding ‘Kheer’, made with milk and basmati rice, flavored with cardamom and saffron. The pistachios added at the end of the cooking process add a warm crunch to this melt-in-your-mouth kheer.
4 cups low fat milk (use whole milk for a richer dessert)
½ cup rice, washed and drained
4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (or 3-4 tablespoons sugar)
5-6 whole cardamom seeds (or pinch of cardamom powder*)
6-7 strands saffron*
¼ cup pistachio, crushed with a mortar and pestle
*Cardamom powder and saffron are strong flavors; use only a pinch of each.
Bring the milk, rice and cardamom to a boil. Reduce flame to low and let it cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to avoid it sticking to bottom of pan. Check if the rice is cooked.
Using a hand blender or the back of the spoon, churn the rice and milk mix (this step is only meant to break up the rice grain, not blend it.)
Add the condensed milk or sugar and saffron to the kheer. Stir the pistachio nuts into the rice pudding and check for your desired level of sweetness.
Remove from the flame when it reaches a pudding-like consistency (remember puddings get firmer as they cool.) Serve slightly warm or well-chilled as a high tea snack or a dessert.
These simple to make yummy bites filled with amazing flavor, look like ‘mini grilled cheese open sandwiches’ and pair well with a hot cup of Chai or as a fresh out of the oven appetizer.
This recipe is part of my cookbook ‘Spice Up Your Celebration’ which offers Indian Inspired recipes for your occasions, holidays and entertaining. Click This Link for Details.
Using old Indian entertaining wisdom and today’s modern approach to food from a global perspective, my cookbook ‘Spice Up Your Celebration’ offers an easy to prepare collection of mouthwatering recipes that can be used for any occasion from intimate family and friends dinners, to hosting larger holiday celebrations.
As always, my dishes are inspired by India’s varied and flavorful smorgasbord of regional cuisines and made with everyday fresh ingredients, basic spices and simple step-wise directions.