You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?
I must have a mug full of milk with two tea-bags to begin my day. The milk has to be Lactose free, otherwise my stomach can go haywire. The captors won’t have to finish me. I will conk off within a week on my own.
Without fruit I can’t exist. My lunch consists of apple, banana, grapes, nectarine cut into bite size pieces, and sprinkled liberally with walnuts. My late husband would pepper me, “why are you so delicate?”
I had no answer. Then, one day a friend provided the answer, “tell him you are not a weed, but a rare flower in his garden who needs care”.
I eat Halal meat only. So if that’s not available, I will ask my captors to get me fish, or catch my own. I will have to learn fishing, provided there are fishes nearby.
Nuts are an important part of my food. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios are favorites, and I keep supplies handy with me at all times. In case of un-availability peanuts will do.
If there is nothing to eat except for bread made from whole wheat flour that will be a God-send. I have seen poor people whose only diet is wheat bread, and they still survive.
So maybe I will survive too.
Kashmiri Chai means Tea from Kashmir. When Pakistan and India got Independence from old British Raj in August 1947, Kashmir got divided too. Actually Kashmir was predominantly Muslim in population. As per decision it should have been acceded to Pakistan, but the Hindu Raja called the Indian Army and it took over Kashmir by Force. Same was the case with Hyderabad Deccan. To this day Muslims are slaughtered in Kashmir, and the Indian Army keeps sway over Kashmir.
The Kashmiri families who migrated to Pakistan brought with them——what? Of course the Art of Kashmiri Chai. (Tea) Once you drink it you are hooked for Life. It’s beautiful in pink color. It’s Gorgeous with a capital G. The taste is Sublime and you keep on asking for more. You can never have enough.
I loved it the first time I had it. I didn’t know how it was made. I knew it was made with green tea, but it is a special kind of green tea. You don’t get the same result with the ordinary green tea. I was delighted when I got the recipe from F (a friend of mine) who is by birth Kashmiri. Here is the recipe.
Take 3 cups of water. Add 3 tea spoons of Kashmiri tea. Keep on boiling it till it reduces to one cup. Add a cup of cold water and five cardamoms to it. Whisk it to bring out the color. Some people, to bring out the color add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to it. Whisk again. Heat two cups of milk separately. Strain the tea. Add milk and bring it to a boil. Have ready half a cup of chopped Pistachios. When you pour your Kashmiri Chai into cups sprinkle Pistachios over it. Oh! You are now ready to have your First Sip of Kashmiri Chai. Heavenly isn’t it? Oh..Oh…Oh…I forgot the sugar, the amount you like or no sugar at all. Many people like it with salt and no sugar. So you can salt to taste.
Two years before I badly wanted a cup. Suddenly I had yen for it. Dragged my poor husband to the Bazar with me in search for the required green tea. One shopkeeper hoodwinked us with our purchase. My whole morning was spent in cajoling out the color. Poor Me! There was no color no taste. Wasted my morning. Could have done another million things. Give up, disappointed.
Elder brother (Lala) visited. I mentioned the failure over tea. Lala was adamant in his Belief that Poor SM (that’s Me) is a moron with a capital M and doesn’t know anything. (Though cooking for years now) He literally dragged me to the kitchen amid my Protestations that the tea was no good. It was to no avail. Whatever I said fell over deaf ears. He added tea and water and started the boil, all the while giving me oodles of instructions. The result was the same and again a waste of time.
Another Kashmiri friend gave me a gift of green tea. I was excited to know from where she bought it. She said she will tell me. Till now she hasn’t. My stash is almost finished. It’s Time to remind her.