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Tea. Some history along with your morning cuppa. This thread is entirely prompted by a friend who lives halfway across the world asking me this. :blobtea:

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Panjiri. Or how you say ‘Winter Is Coming’ in Punjabi. 😌❤️
Aaj ghar par bani.
Key ingredients: Gond or Kamarkas, Aata/Suji, Makhana & Dry fruits (in whatever quantity/mix you like), Boora or powdered sugar, & sabse important is the Desi Ghee is which everything is slow-roasted.

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This place is in desperate need of cats & dogs I’m sorry guys. Please have my potatoes. And Intro-Toot yours.

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Mudhi Mansa from Orissa! A warriors breakfast in Ashoka’s army, Mudhi/Moori (puffed rice) + a Mutton Curry would be eaten for sustenance by marching armies. Later favoured by the Mayurbhanj Kings as a perfect Shikar meal. Mayurbhanj is known to be a significant producer of Moori today, & this a common breakfast/meal. Not a though I came across it while looking for Lost Recipes. Mind was blown. Moori was also preferred during the Bengal Famine since a little bit goes a long way.

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I’m Shubhra.
On Birdsite as @Historywali.
Key interests are history & heritage; in particular culinary history, and you’ll mostly find me Tooting about everything food!
I make Food/Travel/History shows for TV & Web. And I’m currently writing (trying to, goddamn) a book on the culinary traditions of India, to be published by Hachette India in 2020.
I live out of 3 homes & a backpack and am mostly always . Homes: Mumbai, Dehradun, & the Tons Valley (Upper Garhwal)

This is the time of the year I begin to get very jealous of everyone living in Banaras / Lucknow / Dilli for this reason! Call this what you may - Mallaiyo, Makkhan Malai, Nimish, or Daulat Ki Chaat, it’s just the best thing in the whole wide world yes it is don’t @ me. 😻

What did one impoverished historian tell another? “The only thing we learn from history is that we don’t earn from history.”

Would it be wrong for me to put up here that I’m doing this thing on Birdsite this Wednesday at 3pm? 😬

Collected over the year, pencil sketches from a Ghat-side artist in Banaras, Hanuman from Hampi, two mixed media works from Ladakh & a print from Kolkata + masks from everywhere + Lanka (not in pic).

Quick Tip: Always plan a wall layout by arranging stuff on the floor to see what works!

My review of Avik Chanda's new book on the tragic Mughal prince Dara Shukoh--a beautifully written biography which, however, succumbs to romanticising Dara at the cost of fully understanding his historical reality.

Happy to be home.

I don’t miss Bombay but heck I do miss it. :) And like all good relationships, this sexy mama still gets me all giddy & butterfly-bellied when I swoop down into her vastness, glittering ocean and a cluster of dreams crammed together.

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Everywhere else, homes are too large, too far away for me to have this window into others’ lives without having to engage with them.

There, my one-sided relationship is with plants, birds, the sun’s shadow on the mountains, moon, stars.

That’s routine.

In Bombay, it’s the people who become my sun, moon, and stars.
I feed off them.
They are the stories I read.

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Coming home to Bombay anchors me, centres me. I live in Dehradoon, in Kalap, Bhopal is home as well, very often I live out of a suitcase for weeks on end.

But Bombay is my zero mile. <3

The sounds are familiar. They let me plug-in to a stable routine that is entirely missing in my own wanderer life. Puja bells in the morning from 304. The 8 o’clock cooker ki seeti from 503. Knowing what’s coming.

Bombay envelopes you in its embrace in ways you don’t even know.


Puttu is staple breakfast in many homes in Kerala as it can be both savoury & sweet depending on our mood & choice. A steamed dish, can be made w/o long hours of prep, a two ingredient dish made of rice powder & grated coconut.

Std combos: Puttu with pazham (steamed/ripe banana), coffee/tea, ghee & sugar, pappadam, a coconut gravy fish/meat all, puttum kadalayum (in the pics)

This still gives me chills.

Carl Sagan demonstrates how the Greeks figured out the Earth was round and correctly calculated its circumference — 2,000 years ago:


This still gives me chills.

Carl Sagan demonstrates how the Greeks figured out the Earth was round and correctly calculated its circumference — 2,000 years ago:


@Historywali The etymology of how it came to called Chai in some parts and tea in others is quite interesting as well. This might interest you.

@Historywali although it was the Portuguese Queen Catherine of Braganza who introduced tea to the Brits and part of that is because the Portuguese refused to part with Madras-Santhome as a dowry and instead gave up Bombay to the English

Chai Tea Latte piyenge?

The tea gardens of Assam were born when Scottish explorer, Robert Bruce discovered an indigenous tea leaf in Assam. Eager to break the Chinese tea trade monopoly, the East India Company was experimenting with growing tea in India & this proved to be a viable option that survived the weather & soil. And so began tea cultivation in Assam followed soon after by Darjeeling, where the original Chinese tea plant was planted as it survived & thrived!

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Tea. Some history along with your morning cuppa. This thread is entirely prompted by a friend who lives halfway across the world asking me this. :blobtea:

I’m not done yet. There’s more.

We have for many centuries used kadha made of tea as a healing herbal concoction. Hence perhaps the propensity of the early Indian chai wallah to add masalas & ginger to tea so what if there’s milk in it?
Come to think of it, masala chai is mostly just a great kadha with milk in it! 😮

Fin. Enjoy that cup of chai.

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In the initial years, Indians turned their noses up at watery Sahib tea.

A large scale promotional campaign by the Indian Tea Association made tea popular & perhaps more milky? Tea breaks in factories & offices, tea stalls at railways stations, and that’s how the British made tea-drinkers out of us!

Chai. Chaya. Chaha. Choi. Chaa. Call it what you may. Runs in our bloodstreams today.

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And mind you, all of this happened as late as the first half of the 19th century.

1820s - The EEC starts large-scale production of tea in Assam, of an indigenous tea variety of the Singpho. (The variety of tea leaf discovered by Bruce)

1826 - The EEC takes over the region from the Ahom Kings.

1837 - The first English tea garden is established in Chabua.

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