Being British people always assume that I drink a lot of tea. Whilst I have a cupboard full of various herbal tea bags, I actually never drink traditional English black tea. I’m probably at risk of losing my passport over saying this, but I find it bland and unexciting: there’s just nothing to it. That’s why I was curious when I saw a few people raving about Dishoom, a well-regarded Indian restaurant in London, sharing their masala chai recipe: a black tea infused with some lovely warming spices.
Normally, I wouldn’t be interested in this, but if Dishoom has made it, then I had every confidence it was as good as everyone said it would be. Whenever one of their recipes pop up on Instagram or a food website I’m drawn to it: their black dal and gunpowder potatoes have been on my ‘to try’ list for far too long, and I loved thumbing through their recipe book before reluctantly giving it away as a present. This would be my first Dishoom recipe and I was excited.
The recipe was pretty simple, but I was surprised by how long it took! I’m still British enough to need a tea break during the day, and in total, I waited 25 minutes for this amazing-smelling concoction to be ready. I had my snack lined up to go with it, and I was so desperate to tear into it, but I needed to wait for all those delicious spices to get to know each other a little better first. I stood and watched the water become a deep red colour before it turned into a not unappetising brown when I added the milk. It felt very mindful to take note of the process like this and reminded me to my at-home yoga and meditation retreat a few weeks ago, where I had no idea how to have a mindful cup of tea. Now I know the secret is to infuse it yourself and wait nearly half an hour for the magic to happen.
I sat down with my cup of tea and took a tentative first sip. I don’t normally have milk in anything so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. The tea was full of warmth and a little bit of a kick thanks to the ginger. It tasted incredible, but a little too sweet for me.
I get it now. I get how black tea can be exciting and something to look forward to. I also get how to make a mindful cup of tea, something I definitely intend to do again. I think I could get used to this.