Hi guys!! So, I have been cooking all week to bring the best out from my kitchen for my foodie buddies J (sounds nice, right?) Well, inspiration is where it all begins…be it anything. So even today I have a story that inspired me to create the Tea en Capas.
During one of our regular restaurant outings, Aj ordered a “Special Tea”. I was like, what’s that? When the order was served: there was a huge glass tumbler that had 2 layers- one tea and above that a layer of milk n froth. He stirred it up with the spoon and it was just normal chai! That caught my fascination and lingered in the back of my mind. But what really pushed me into trying this was an article about a guy who created 7-layered tea! A man named Romesh Ram Gour from Bangladesh. You can read more about him and see a picture of his tea here. Well, thanks to Mr.Gour I actually managed to create 4 layers…happy me, considering it took him 10 years to 7 layers!!! Hehehe…..I managed 4 in one morning…actually 6, if you count the “invisible to the naked eye” layer and the froth on top…… hahaJ
Well, that being said, my tea aka “masala chai” has to be stirred ones before taking your first sip to actually get the real flavours in there. For simple tea lovers, this ought to be a different treat, even without the layers because its got a unique flavour and aroma of its own.
Let me now brief you through the layers of difficulty, right from the bottom.
The first layer at the bottom (which is invisible in the photos due to the sparse quantity) is a drop of freshly made butter caramel with a dash of salt. This gives an amazing unique flavour to your tea…like I always say, “Trust me!” J
Second layer is a blend of spice tea, which we got from Srilanka (picture below). This you can create at home by adding a cinnamon stick and a small portion of star anise to water before making your usual strong black tea. This is the only layer where we add sugar in such a quantity that the tea is perfectly sweet to your taste when you mix it all up.
The third layer is boiled fresh milk. And the fourth layer is light black tea. And the last one is foam from the milk.
Now you might notice, I have been stressing a lot on foam….well, you see, the key to making this tea lies there. Yup! You heard it right J
Go on and read the recipe to know why n how!!
BTW: Please note all cup measurements are in teacups.
|layers vs no-layers look|
Ingredients: (serves - 4 to 5 tea cups)
Water- 3 n half cups
Milk- 4 cups (we add only necessary quantity to tea, rest is for frothing and using only the froth)
Tea – adjust quantity to your taste, I usually take almost a teaspoon for 1 teacup.(use in 3:1 ration for the bottom and top layer)
Cinnamon stick – 1 long piece
Star anise- a small piece
Caramel- 4 teaspoons full (1 teaspoon for no layers)
Sugar – 4 teaspoon (again adjust to your taste)
Method 1 (no layers, just simple Masala Chai):
1. Bring ¾ cup milk, 3 cups water, cinnamon and anise to boil. Add tea and sugar and 1 teaspoon full caramel. Stir to mix and strain. Serve hot.
Method 2 (The en Capas way)
1. Boil milk. Leave a cup on the heat at very low flame. Froth the rest of it.
2. Heat 1 cup of water with cinnamon and anise. Add sugar and dissolve. When boiling, add 3 tsp. Tea. Let it blend, then strain and set aside.
3. Boil rest of water add 1 tsp. tea. Blend, strain and set aside.
Assembling the layers:
Please note that the teacup should be dry.
1. Pour one teaspoon of caramel into teacup.
2. Slowly pour the spice tea into it about ¼th of the cup.
3. Now scoop out a tablespoon foam from the milk and place it over the tea. There should be enough to act like a bed while we pour the milk i.e about ½ inch thick.
4. Slowly pour each tablespoon of milk by the wall of the cup. (Adjust amount as per your taste but the layer should be at least ½ inch thick to hold the last layer of tea)
5. After the layering of milk is finished, if the froth has reduced, refill it. Then very slowly and using the same method, pour the last layer of tea using a tablespoon by the walls of the cup.
6. Last, fill your teacups to the brim with foam.
7. And the key element where you gotta beat it all: Serve HOT!!! So watch the pace J or you will end up serving cold tea.
Tips n Tricks:
· It’s all a game of physics. The densities of each blend/layer vary slightly, depending on which they barely float on one another.
· Use some instinct to judge the thickness required for each layer. When I did it for the first time, the first layer was barely visible.
· Practise makes perfect…implies when you have to serve hot tea. So, start with a cup for yourself, then try to make a couple for both of you and when you know you have mastered the art, only then try it with guests J
Last, I know this is something that needs a video or at least a photo tutorial. I’ll not promise on the video but I will try to update some pictures over the week to demonstrate the technique better.
Till then, keep trying!