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UrbanDazzle Glassware: A Review And Some Lemongrass, Basil & Mint Tea

Posted Aug 12 2012 12:00am

ave you experienced the monsoons in South Western India, say in Kerala or along the Konkan Coast ? If you haven’t, you definitely should and I would highly recommend you do it in Goa. I could be biased because I live in Goa but there’s something special about nature exulting in the rains. Everything is suddenly cleaner and more colourful after the rains have washed away the dust of the summer and breathed new life into everything around. Flowers bloom, and birds and butterflies flit and fly in and out of plants and trees.
It is the rice planting season and there miles and miles of bright green carpeted fields just half an hour’s drive out of the city. Swaying coconut palms, huge waves, a stormy sea and a overcast skies heavy with dark clouds can be an awesome sight.

And there’s something special, an almost childlike pleasue in curling up warm under the covers at night listening to the rain outside, going from a roaring downpour to a pitter-patter on the stones as the rain eases up. Not to mention that this season is the perfect excuse to indulge in crisp, deep fried fritters and sip many a cup of steaming hot cups of masala chai!
By now you must have gathered that I like the monsoon season. I can also see some of you thinking, “She’s in love with the monsoon because she doesn’t have to brave the rain and slush and get wet every day!”
That it true to some extent, but in my “younger” days, I have braved the heavy rains, the slush, and the strong winds that ensured every bit of you got wet. I remember leaving work and waiting at the bus stop, drenched, shivering and trying to hang onto an umbrella which was hell bent on turning inside out and taking off with the wind.

But the monsoons are not always about the better things in life. It can continue to pour for days together and general greyness outside can make even the most cheerful of people see the dull side of life.  And let’s not even go into the misery that a cold or an itchy nose and throat can create.

However, in my opinion, there’s very little that a hot cup of tea cannot cure during the rains (and at other times). I usually like my tea strong, really hot, a bit milky and preferably spiced with chai masala. I am so used to this type of tea that I’ve never been able to understand how my husband can have his with no milk and a squeeze of lemon.
But I am getting there slowly. I recently discovered the “yellow” tea from Kausani and have fallen in love with it. It has also opened my mind to the possibilities of perhaps finding other teas to like.

Well, I just found another one, a pale green coloured tea made with the herbs growing in my pots. This tea is very flavoursome and made with lemongrass, mint, Thai basil, and Indian basil/ Thulasi (the variety I used is not the Holy Basil, butsimilar to it with rounder leaves, hairless stems, and a sweeter aroma).
It’s simple to make and very refreshing to drink. Though there’s a recipe here for it please feel free to adjust quantities of the various ingredients to suit your taste. You can refrigerate this tea and drink it cold in summer too. Just use it up the very day you make it.

And if you feel like pampering yourself (and family and friends), just serve it up in some pretty glassware like I did. These pretty festive looking glasses were sent to me from UrbanDazzle for a review.

These scarlet and silver glasses decorated with stars, are made in Germany and perfect to dress up the table for dinner. While I wouldn’t choose this colour (just a personal thing as I tend to veer towards a more simple style in my table ware), I must say these glasses are quite pretty. They’re available in other colours too.  I wouldn’t mind using them as decorative containers for tea lights, though.

Those of you who live in India and bake, know how difficult it is to source good bake ware here. If you have someone wholives abroad and frequently comes down on then things are a bit better but there’s only so much you can ask them to bring you.  I have searched quite a bit online but haven’t found any good and affordable solutions so far.

I am doing a product review for UrbanDazzle, but I’m not recommending them only because of that. I went through their site and find they have a reasonably good selection of some decent bake ware , cookware and kitchen accessories that don’t necessarily cost a bomb. They also ship free.

I know that some of that stuff they offer would sit pretty in my home and kitchen, and as a bonus, would also make good food photography props. So guess where I might be shopping soon?
Lemongrass, Basil & Mint Tea

900 ml water 6 to 8 blades of fresh lemongrass pieces, about 5” long  Grated dry ginger, to taste 3 sprigs Indian basil (12 to 16 leaves) 2 sprigs Thai basil (8 to 10 leaves) 2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint (8 to 10 leaves) Honey to taste (or jaggery or brown sugar)

Bring the water to boil in a pot. Chop the lemon grass into half and tear the herbs once. Put all this and the ginger in to the boiling water and turn down the heat to low. Let the teas simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let the flavours infuse for another couple of minutes. Strain the tea into four cups. Add honey to sweeten the tea according to taste and serve hot. You can also let it cool and then refrigerate it before serving but it is best drunk hot/ warm. This recipe serves 4.

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