Stories about chai

Pop-up in the Park: Reclaiming public spaces in Karachi

Spoken Stage, in collaboration with Girls at Dhabas, hosted an event coined “Pop-up in the Park” at Frere Hall this Saturday in order to reclaim the public spaces in Karachi. Spoken Stage is an organisation that fosters the growth of individual expression through the projection of spoken word poetry and prose. Girls at Dhabas was created with the intention of enabling women to claim public spaces, and is quickly gaining influence as women all over South Asia are using the hashtag #girlsatdhabas. The event took place at Frere Hall with the intention of reclaiming public spaces.Photo: ...

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Eid lunch – For the love of family and food

Eid will always remind me of my childhood and growing up in Pakistan. I have a clear sensory memory of awakening to aromas of cloves and cardamom wafting from the kitchen into my bedroom. This is a day that revolves around family togetherness and a celebration of food, after a month of abstinence and contemplation. Though a global Muslim festival, Eid is celebrated differently in each country, highlighting the fact that this is not just a religious day, but a time to celebrate our culture and identity. But, the one unifying similarity is that Eid is a celebration of food, authentic flavours ...

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Why go to England when you can enjoy delicious buttery scones right here?

While most people mistake a scone with biscuits or a small cake, they will be surprised to know it is nothing like either of the two. A scone is a crumbly yet dense cake with a delectably rich and creamy flavour. A scone alone wonderfully represents the elegance of British culinary. Scones are best served with tea, and so when a friend of mine told me she’s coming over for some tea and a catch-up session, the first dish that came to my mind was of course, none other than scones. The best part about this appetising dish is that it can ...

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Welcoming monsoon with assorted pakoras and spicy cardamom chai

With my eyes half open after a long afternoon siesta, I’d look above me to see the slow winding ceiling fan, hearing the monotonous humming of the air conditioner and lazily stretching as a loud crackle of thunder jolts me out of bed. Thinking back now, I can almost smell the dusty humidity outside, as I opened my bedroom window to be greeted by warm monsoon raindrops falling on my face, gracing the room with a breeze alive and the aroma rising from the kitchen below – of pakoras and sweet cardamom chai. It was that time of year again – when the Heavens’ descended ...

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I keep coming back to you, Lahore

I was in Lahore last November. If I close my eyes to relive some of the city’s glory, I would not know where to start. What do I remember? What do I smell? What do I taste? What do I miss? For me, as an immigrant, that is probably the single most difficult question. “What do you miss the most back home?” How do you answer that? Do you dig up memories only you can make sense of, or do you cough up the obvious? “Oh, I miss my friends and family.” Of course you miss the important human connections in your life. But what else do you miss? I ...

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Winter cravings? Have some banana samosas with a chai chocolate twist!

It is that time of the year when the breath of the crisp sandy cool sea breeze in the mornings confirms that our mild, desert winter is here. With it, it brings a gush of festivities, weddings, parties and many visitors – the return of old friends and family living abroad, to enjoy winter Karachi-style. I suppose it’s because the best weather comes around this time of the year and people choose winter holidays over the summer ones to plan their events and trips. Suddenly, Karachi comes alive during the morning, afternoon and evening, as opposed to just the evening like in the ...

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Warming up the winters with Sooji ka Halwa and chai

Sooji (semolina) halwa was amongst the first few things I learnt to cook primarily because it took less time to cook and I loved its mild sweetness. I was never much of a halwa puri breakfast fan as the deep-fried puris don’t sit very well with my tummy. The halwa, however, if homemade, was my favourite with some tea during cold winter afternoons. Sooji halwa is especially cooked in Pakistan on Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthday and distributed amongst neighbours and poor households. Given the fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born and passed away on the same day, the sweet halwa is cooked in the morning to mark the celebration of his birth. In the ...

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“I will be selling chai on Mars soon!”

Chinese authorities, on Friday, sent a letter to the UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), condemning the unashamedly cheerful celebration by the Indian authorities on the success of the recent Indian Mars mission ‘Mangalyaan’. It accused the country of ‘highly inappropriate’ interference in its outer space affairs. The letter from the Beijing foreign affairs committee said that, under its ‘eight planet chain’ convention, China has the exclusive rights to any space territory that was charted by its ancient astronomers. This is not the first time the emerging Asian superpower has asserted its growing authority on disputed territories. It has previously ...

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Let’s have a cup of chai together, India

It is a truth acknowledged in the subcontinent that no meeting is complete without a cup of chai (tea). The freshly brewed combination of masalas, cardamom or a frothy cup of doodh pati touches the tip of the tongue, instantly refreshing one’s mind. Some have even argued that chai purifies their souls. We all certainly love our tea!  The addiction is tremendously mind-blowing, in its literal sense, and on a serious note, I often think Pakistani and Indians need a tea rehabilitation centre. When have you last visited a household where you weren’t offered chai? The alternative options are, of course, thanda (cold drink) or pani (water), but the fervour of making fresh chai for the guests is ...

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New Quetta Super Sharjah Hotel: The dhaba monopolising the chai, paratha market!

Did you know that there is a chai ka dhaba (tea cafe) in Karachi that has four branches in one of the most affluent parts of the city? Similarly, were you aware of the fact that this said cafe has only three items on its menu and it operates from 6:30 in the morning till late in the night? No? Well then, don’t be disappointed; I didn’t know these facts either. In fact, there was a lot more I didn’t know about this peculiar cafe, until I decided to investigate and find out more. Photo: Saadia Tariq Almost every other morning, as I ...

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