Jan 31, 2013

Typhoo Mar-tea-ni's & a Lesson!

Wine pairing, beer pairing, coffee pairing and now tea ...we are certainly getting adventurous! Not so much actually because my mom used tea bags to colour 'chhole' all the time and I have done a 'matcha' creme brulee in my kitchen too. This tea pairing event however was on a different level. With Chef Vicky Ratnani taking us through the processes and The Park as our hosts, we knew we'd learn something new today! The showcased tea's were by Ty-Phoo an in house brand for the Apeejay Surrendra Enterprise.

"Typhoo Tea Limited is an over 100-year-old iconic British brand with a rich heritage stretching back to 1903 when Birmingham grocer John Sumner developed and sold a blend of tea in his shop.

Over the years, Typhoo has developed from being the first brand to sell ready packaged tea, to being a leading tea business that now offers products in every sector of the tea market. Brands such as London Fruit & Herb - recognised across the world, Heath and Heather - offering a natural fruit and herb product to an audience growing in health awareness and Melrose’s and Glengettie, regional favourites in Scotland and Wales. On 31 October 2005 Apeejay Surrendra Group, one of India’s largest tea producers with 17 plantations across 50,000 acres in Assam, acquired Typhoo and its associated brands."

This was my first interaction with Chef Vicky Ratnani and I found him to be very affable and warm, these seem like prerequisites for celebrity chef's these days, gone are the times when one had no clue who cooked their meal at a hotel or restaurant. It was fun watching him do his new and pretty appetizing sounding 'Chai da Kukkad', however, I wasn't very taken by the flavours when we actually tasted it. There was nothing wrong with the dish as such, it could have been seasoned better and one teabag torn and steeped in some of the broth, strained and brought back into the dish would definitely add more depth to the dish. The other trouble is chicken breasts, is it really that hard to get them done right?

The meal for the day started with a very interesting CousCous and grilled vegetables ensemble served with an Earl Grey, which I loved. The main course with the Masala chai infused chicken which was passable, then came the Flourless chocolate cake with strawberries, which had it's own nuances that I found hard to appreciate but the pairing with a milk free Assam tea was just right! The beverages for the day were fruit infused, mild Mar-tea-ni's which I personally loved and will surely replicate at my next cocktail party. The afternoon was made interesting by Chef Ratnani's exuberant presence and general tea banter, thanks Ty-Phoo and Aqua at The Park!

From the tea samples Ty-Phoo shared with us, I enjoyed the Orange Spicer Fruit infusion, the Earl Grey and the English Breakfast Tea. Here's my recipe with the Cardamom Tea Pannacotta made with Ty-phoo's Cardamom Flavoured tea.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Milk
4 tbsp Water
1.5 tsp Gelatin
2 Ty-phoo Cardamom Flavoured teabags
2 tbsp Fine sugar
2 Cardamoms


Warm the water and dissolve the gelatin in a small bowl. Warm the milk, steep the tea bags in it for 5 minutes or so, you can use an extra tea bag if you want a deeper flavour. Bring to a boil, add the sugar and remove from the stove. Cool the mixture a bit, remove tea bags and use a whisk to blend in the dissolved gelatin, then the heavy cream. Check the sweetness, pour into 2 ramekins or 4 champagne flutes and refrigerate. I usually don't de-mould puds and desserts like these because I like to serve em in cutesy dishware. Gently pound open the cardamom pods and garnish the top of the pudding, serve cold!