THE ART OF AMRUTATULYA TEA – PUNE STYLE
When I was a small boy in the nineteen sixties Pune was a “Tea Town”. Everyone drank tea and all over the town there were chiefly two types of tea for the laidback discerning gourmet Punekar to relish – AMRUT TULYA CHAHA at the ubiquitous Amrut-tulya Tea Shops in every nook and corner of Pune, and the peerless IRANI CHAI served by the numerous Irani Restaurants all over Pune City and Camp like Café Naaz, Lucky, Good Luck, Volga etc.
Amrut means Nectar, and Tulya means Comparable, so “Amrut Tulya” means “Comparable to Nectar” and indeed, true to its name, Amrut-Tulya Tea is comparable to nectar – sweet, ambrosial, like the elixir of life! Amrut Tulya Chaha is not brewed in the traditional Tea service style – the tea is “cooked” in front of you.
Come, my dear Tea Lover, let me tell you how to make Amrut Tulya Chaha - The Art of Tea – Pune Style.
Assemble the following Ingredients for Two cups of Amrut Tulya Tea “Special Chaha”
Assam CTC Tea or, if you live in Pune, get the famous CTC+OP “Family Mixture” Tea Powder from your favourite “Tea Depot” in the heart of Pune City.
[By the way, the acronyms are: CTC – Crush, Tear, Curl; OP – Orange Pekoe; BOP – Broken Orange Pekoe].
Full Cream Buffalo Milk [I like Chitale’s]
Fresh Ginger Crushed [Better still you can crush the juicy fresh ginger with the chimta directly in the water-milk concoction to let the ginger juices flow out and blend in smoothly]
Cardamom – peel, crush and powder the pods
[NB – Amrut Tulya Tea is not your traditional Masala Chai so please don’t add any Tea Masalas or spices like clove, cinnamon, black peppercorns or herbs like gavati chaha (lemon grass?), tulsi leaves etc. and neither is it the “khada chamach” or “cutting” Chai so please don’t boil away to glory – remember, you must achieve Amrut Tulya Chaha of just the right consistency!]
In a brass vessel [or stainless steel, if you can’t get a brass vessel] mix one cup of water and one cup of milk. Add four teaspoons of sugar. Put on the stove. Medium heat.
Squeeze in a bit of crushed ginger and add a pinch of cardamom powder and the peel.
Lightly stir, let it warm, and bring to a boil.
Smartly add two teaspoons of tea powder and keep stirring gently to ensure the boiling concoction does not spill over. Keep boiling till the tea attains beautiful bright golden-orange colour – the moment you see a reddish tinge, give the heavenly brew a loving last stir, twirl the vessel, and sieve the Amrut Tulya Tea Special Chaha directly into the cups.
Sip the delicious tea slowly and mindfully, roll it on your tongue, let it emulsify in your palate, close your eyes, absorb, discern the flavour, the rich taste, relish every sip lovingly.
Tell me, isn’t Amrut Tulya Chaha lip-smacking tasty and soul-refreshing? Blissful ambrosia, an experience of nectar, isn’t it?
Now you know why they call it Amrut Tulya – comparable to Nectar!
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2008
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.