The spirit was willing…but the flesh very weak. But here I am after a not-too-long hiatus from blogging. I guess, we all need a break now and then, to get the juices flowing again.
JFI:Rice came. And went. Nothing from the Kashmir stables after having admitted “there is much Kashmiris do with rice.” That too when I have, at the least, nine varieties of rice in my pantry! And I had so planned to cook ver, the Kashmiri rice gruel/konji/risotto named after the spice mix that goes into it, that is cooked to kick off all auspicious functions. It will have to wait for some time, though I do have just the rice for it.
Meanwhile, let me serve you something cool and refreshing, while there is still some heat in the sun and warmth in the weather. Just in time for Meeta’s Monthly Mingle: Liquid Dreams.
Not all my buys at Dilli Haat are great. But most are. Besides, spotting something new is always thrilling.
On my last visit there during the annual Basant Saras festival (Spring Fest), I bought produce from all over the country. These were mostly small time farmers or cooperatives representing small farmers. I bought three kinds of beans from the Uttaranchal ladies – two types of pahadi rajma, and also black beans; short grain fragrant rice and tamarind from Madhya Pradesh. From a small stall selling the produce of Kerala I bought kudampulli (fish-tamarind, I’m still to use it though), light-as-air amaranth seed laddus, jawbreaker sesame laddus, and coffee and tea. All this was from Munnar in Kerala.
While I’ve sampled tea and coffee from the Annamalai hills in Tamil Nadu – both excellent products, I might add – I wasn’t aware of tea estates in Kerala. But, what do we North Indians know about the Southern States beyond idli-dosa? Not much.
So I sampled the excellent coffee. And some black tea. The tea, I was disappointed to find, wasn’t quite up to the standards. It was definitely a very inferior tea that I had bought – large leaves with a fair bit of twigs too. Could they be the coarser lower leaves instead of the delicate tips…tea that the poor farmers keep for themselves?
Unfortunately, I had already passed on some of the stuff without having sampled it first. I wrote my friend warning him not to serve it to discerning drinkers of the brew. He waved it off assuring me that iced tea always tastes good. And therein lies my inspiration.
In addition, I was going to use the bounty of the sun – directly in its warming rays, and also in the ripened limes from the garden. After sun-cooked lemon and lime pickles madness all over the blogosphere, and then cookies baked inside cars, there is sani-tea in sun tea.
I brewed the tea in the sun for some time; you could also brew it in cool water on your kitchen counter. Use some orange juice for sweetening. I used Tang – sacrilegious you think? But I rarely have orange juice in the fridge, and good oranges have become rarer still. If I make it during Kinnow season, I will be sure to add fresh Kinnow juice. Just that one lime adds a whole another refreshing flavour. You can always use good black tea leaves. But these not-so-great leaves made a great iced tea! You were right, friend.
(Iced Sun Tea)
3 ½ C water
3 t black tea leaves
1 T Tang Orange Drink powder (or 1 C orange or any other sweet citrus juice)
1 lime, sliced thin
Take the water (at room temperature) in a glass carafe or jug. Add the tea leaves (approximately one level teaspoonful for every cup of water). Leave the carafe out in the sun for an hour, or let steep indoors for a lighter tea. Strain. Stir in orange drink mix powder (or orange juice ). Add the sliced lime and let steep in the refrigerator a further one hour. Serve in tall glasses over ice cubes.