20 November 2010

Coffee Garam: Indian Chai Making Class Tweetup, Surry Hills (20 Nov 2010)

29-37 Bellevue Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Brewing up a Chai

The preparation of Chai takes about 5-10 minutes. The water is boiled and the black tea leaves are added. Once the tea infuses into the water giving it a brown-black colour, the spices are added. Sugar and milk to taste. The mixture is allowed to boil until it rises. In India, the chai is filtered and served in special cups.

Thanks to Denea from Gourmet Rabbit for organising this free Chai Making Class aka #chaitweetup with owner Harvey Parekh and Chef Raj Mehta from Coffee Garam. The small cafe has only been opened for about 5 months and Raj joined in the last month to help try and achieve their clear passion to introduce authentic Indian snack food to Sydney including homemade Chai tea. Today's tweetup was mainly to demonstrate the process of making Chai tea and introducing a few tasty snacks. The homemade Chai spice mix including cinnamon, cardamon, cloves and ginger was very aromatic and reminded me of a wonderful aromatherapy oil blend — my mind starting thinking of a meditation room for some reason. Once prepared with black tea and milk the taste was flavoursome although it wasn't until the sugar was added that the taste of the chai was much better appreciated.

We also tried a sample of their homemade lemonade with spices which was refreshingly different. Tasty slices of Green mango, banana and sultana bread were also on offer which were moist and very nice — I wondered how it would go toasted with butter for breakfast. Apparently green mango is used commonly in India — you learn something new everyday. We tried a small sample of freshly made Bhel puri which was full of different flavours which worked well together. I was thinking the mixture would work really well served in a crispy pastry cup as a cocktail canape too. I'm not an espresso drinker so the Monsoon Malabar Blend was too strong for my innocent coffee palate but having it with a piece of caramel slice added the much needed sugar on my taste buds to make it more enjoyable. To finish off on a sweet note we tried their homemade Galub Jamun which to date is the best I've enjoyed in Sydney. Being freshly made the day before it had the right amount of sweetness and was very soft and moist — not like other places which might freeze them and become a bit firm and way too sweet, and sometimes sickly.

I'm looking forward to seeing their plans to expand the Indian snack menu next year and to try dishes that aren't your typical heavy Indian curries around town and are more sophisticated and different like you might find at Zaaffran to challenge the taste buds and share the diversity of true Indian cuisine.

Other blog reviews of Coffee Garam:

PROS: Friendly staff, Reasonable prices, Passionate Chai tea makers
CONS: Their menu is currently trying to please Aussie tastes
MUST TRY: Galub Jamun, Chai Latte and Indian Masala Chai, Other Bombay snacks

Harvey Parekh (owner) and Chef Raj Mehta welcome the Chai Tweetup class

Homemade spiced lemonade to start

Black tea and Chai spices

Green mango, banana and sultana bread - it works!

Stirring in the milk

Sifting the chai

Pouring the chai into special glasses

Holding the chai so as to not burn your fingers

Indian snack time — Bhel puri

Indian snack food menu descriptions

Monsoon Malabar Blend espresso

Caramel slice adds sugar to your palate to help smooth out the coffee

Galub jamun — freshly made the day before

Menu choices

Chai making class in action

Live Tweetup — real people talking to real people


Mona said...

woww ... it's awesome, unfortunately, I couldn't attend the chai class, was occupied with something else :( I have been a big fan of this place because of the Indian snack. The best Indian chaat (samosa chaat) that I tried in Sydney. Gulab jamun looked awesome too ... I should try next time.

Simon Leong said...

hi mona, that's a pity you missed out. hopefully next time. i definitely want to revisit to try the Indian snacks :-)

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