Perfect to the T

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Tea is the necessary evil so I am not going to deny it or defy it. I love my chai and in this wet weather I love it the way Alyona makes with a little chai masala. 

Tea is one ingredient that chefs sometimes get baffled with. Why? It is that ‘steeped in’ flavour that has to be steeped out or coaxed out in the right way, in the right amount to get the perfect tea taste! 

Tea is probably one of the world’s oldest beverage that has remained hot and on top of the popularity charts through the years. We all know about the tea gardens and how beautifully verdant they look but now. As science keeps on researching and the human brain keeps seeking, tea leaves are being plucked in the nascent stage to make what is being propounded as the healthiest tea of all teas - white tea! White tea is made from immature tea leaves that are picked shortly before the buds have fully opened. The tea takes its name from the silver fuzz that still covers the buds, which turns white when the tea is dried. Leaving tea leaves so close to their natural state means that white tea contains more anti-oxidants than any other type of tea.

Green tea has just begun to flow in our veins and here we have yet another health tip about white tea. I really do not know whether the tussle between coffee and tea (green, black, oolong, white…..) will lead us anywhere but the fact remains that the hot cuppa is indispensable. Tea should not be given to children as their nervous system may be over-stimulated by the caffeine content. 

What can we do with tea then? I love to use some tea leaves in a potli when I make chane. I love the green tea soufflé and the simple iced tea. Tea could help creations like tea ice cream and funnily teacakes have no tea as an ingredient but are eaten with tea at teatime! 

Drinking loose teas has many advantages over tea bags. Full leaf teas impart the finest flavour characteristics to the water, whereas broken or crushed tea bags leaves often impart bitter properties to the tea. Cup for cup, loose leaf teas are less expensive and using loose-leaf tea allows you to use the right amount for your perfect cup of tea! So whether you like Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Jasmine, Green, Earl Grey or Scented Orange Pekoe the best way to brew tea is in a pot made of china or glazed earthenware. Towards the end of the infusion time, stir the tea once, so that it is of even colour. Infuse for three-four minutes if it is green, three to five if it is black and seven to ten if it is oolong. And do not forget to unearth that tea cozy that aunty gave you eons ago! 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.