Friday, 10 March 2017

Masala Chai (Tea) and chat with Neelam from M V Spices #International women's day




On a recent visit to India, we visited Jodhpur - the blue city of Rajasthan. A mesmerising city of blue buildings, forts and architecture that is magnificent. Mehrangarh Fort is the main tourist attraction in Jodhpur, it is set on the hill tops boasting stunning views of the city. The fort is beautiful and the museum inside is very interesting with lots of historical artefacts and displays. Through the exit courtyard, you will also find gift shops, Rajasthani musicians and dancers and local traders selling their products and souvenirs.


It was at this fort that we met a young lady called Nikki who was running a spice stall. The aroma as we walked passed was so decadent that we had to stop and check out the amazing array of spices that she was selling. On offer were many blends for curries and a variety of  teas and fresh spices.
Whilst purchasing quite a few, it was hard not to, we struck up a conversation with Nikki who told us that her family have other shops in Jodhpur market and if time permits to visit them to check out an even larger selection of spices and also sample a cup of their masala chai. 

Masala chai in India is available in every street corner, it is served in little shot glasses, it is dark, strong and sweet and fragranced with spices. It’s the perfect pick me up after a hard day shopping or just to beat the heat. Yes its a known fact that hot tea actually cools you down!!!


Late afternoon after our visit to the fort we took up Nikki’s offer and went in search for her other spice shops by the clock tower in Jodhpur. It was here that we met Nikki’s sister Neelam, she was most welcoming and our conversation with her flowed and we chatted with her like we were old friends. She was really friendly and had a fantastic knowledge of spices. Over a cup of delicious masala chai which was most needed as we were melting in the Rajasthani heat, Neelam narrated her family story to us. It was very emotional and definitely worthy of a mention here. 


The story of M V Spices:

M V Spices was founded by Mohanlal Verhomal her father some 40 years ago. As a young man her father used to cycle to the Clock Tower Market in Jodhpur and the fort to sell packs of spice blends complete with hand written recipes to accompany them to the tourists. His small venture flourished and M V spices travelled worldwide through the travellers  and tourists who purchased them. However tragedy struck  in 2004 and Mohanlal Verhomal passed away suddenly leaving behind a widow and 7 daughters.

After her husband’s death Mrs Verhomal took the decision to carry on her husband’s spice legacy and decided to run the spice business herself with the help of her young daughters. Although she had no business acumen, together they learnt to wheel and deal and travel far and wide all over India to source spices. They created the mixes to sell them through their four shops. Lack of experience and being female were their toughest obstacles whilst stepping into a highly male dominant society where women did not dare to do business. This did not deter them and through sheer hard work and determination they have indeed achieved what they set out to do. In the last 12 years their business has grown from strength to strength and M V spices has lots of recognition in India and worldwide. Their spice mixes are not only available in their shops in Jodhpur-Shop No 209 - B | Vegetable Market, Clock Tower, Jodhpur 342002, but you can also buy them on the internet through their website.


I am in total admiration to see what these amazing ladies have achieved, not only have they proved that women can do anything they set off to do but they have inspired other women in India that they too can stand on their own two feet if the need arises.

I love masala chai (incidently chai is an Indian word for Tea )and since I live in the UK I usually have to make my own spice blend as it is not readily available in the local shops. To check out how to make your own tasty masala chai (Tea) spice blend do check out my previous masala chai post. 


However, since my visit to Jodhpur, I have stocked up with the tea spice from M V Spices which is a blend of ground ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the following recipe, I am using the M V tea masala spice blend to make the perfect cup of masala chai.



I hope to feature many of the other M V spices I purchased in my future posts.

How to make the perfect cup of masala chai (tea) is really a matter of personal choice, some people like it milky, other like it strong, some like it sweet and others like it sugar free, there is no right or wrong way but what is most important is the addition of the tea spice. I am sharing below my favourite recipe.





print recipe

Masala Chai (Tea)
Strong spiced Indian tea flavoured with aromatic spices.





Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons loose tea leaves
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon M V Tea spice

Method:
1. In a saucepan add the water, tea leaves, tea spice and sugar and bring the mixture to a boil 2. Once the tea water is boiling, add the milk and wait for the tea to come to a boil, after which simmer for 2-3 minutes longer for the spices to infuse. 3. Strain the tea into cups and serve immediately. 
Details
Prep time:0Boiling time: Total time: Yield: 2 cups





I recently visited Rajathan and this post is part of a series of posts that I am going to be featuring on this blog about my culinary experience around India. I was inspired to write this post and feature M V Spices after hearing Nikkis and Neelams story.

31 comments:

  1. I shall have to try that recipe. Thanks for sharing x

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    Replies
    1. You will love the flavour, trust me.

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  2. Love this post. Sounds like you had an incredible time. I am partial to a spice mix too, the are so convenient. Really enjoyed reading this x

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    Replies
    1. Nothing beats home made spices, better than the curry powder we get in the supermarkets.

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  3. I wish I enjoyed chai / spicy tea but it's just not to my liking. I do love quite a few other teas though, my favourite at the moment is Gingerbread tea x

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  4. Sounds like a lovely trip! Enjoy reading how people establish businesses from the routes. M V spices has an inspiring story! x

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    Replies
    1. It was such a touching story , I had to share it in my blog.

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  5. Wow, what an amazing woman. I admire her strength and perseverance!

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    Replies
    1. Exactly my sentiments, its very difficult in India for women to stand shoulder to shoulder against men in the business sector. The ladies are truely inspiring

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  6. This is such a heartwarming success story Nayna!

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    Replies
    1. Yes that is the reason I wanted to share it with my readers.

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  7. Oooh that sounds really different. Its not something I've ever had before but Id love to give it a try.

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    Replies
    1. Its similar to the chai latte that ate available these days in coffee shops.

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  8. What a beautiful story of empowerment and a wonderful way to continue Mr Verhomal's legacy. I may have to try the masala chai myself! It looks delicious. I'm a huge fan of chai tea latte.

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    Replies
    1. Do let me know how you get on with the recipe.

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    2. He will be proud of his familys achievement definitely.

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  9. I'm so fussy with tea but I have a friend who would love this - may have to make it for her next time she visits. Thank you for this!

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    Replies
    1. I hope you try it you may change your mind.

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  10. Sounds like a very nice tea, will have to try it very soon

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  11. That tea sounds so lovely, I think I will have to try it sometime x

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  12. I'd love to visit India, I know there are a lot of available spices and teas. I would include your list for me to check if I can visit that too.

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  13. Nayna- Loved this post. We have to admire what these ladies have achieved. I loved all your props. I am looking forward to all your posts about India.

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  14. Wow that's a lot of different spices, I'm quite conservative when it comes to spices so don't try as many as most people do x

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  15. This sounds like quite the visit and what an inspiration to have carried on the business.

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  16. I would love to try this some day, it sounds wonderful.

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  17. It's definitely so lovely to hear how far a family can come through hard work and dedication!

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  18. Nayna, I've been to Rajasthan in fact have studied in Mt. Abu but have yet to see Jodhpur. If one leaves India without sampling that strong, sweet spicy tea then one has not experienced the true essence of India! I love my masala tea a bit strong and sweet to refresh the mind and body.

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  19. Wow.. masala chai.. anytime of the day I can enjoy it.Nice to know about Neelam and her products. If I can get hold of this chai masala I will definitely give it a try.. Jodhpur is on my Travels list.. would love to visit the Blue City.

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  20. Wow! What an amazing story they had to share. The spice etc looks amazing.

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  21. Unfortunately I never tried Masala tea while in India, but this recipe sounds delicious, so I'll definitely give it a try 👍🏻

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