Food Event | Ty.phoo …Tea & Food Pairing Session with Chef Vicky Ratnani

“Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani It was time for Ty.phoo‘s unique ‘Out of the Pot Journey’.  A few of us waded across a city jammed with traffic thanks to Republic day parade practice and massive traffic diversions. We headed for The Park in the heart of New Delhi, overlooking the historic 18th century observatory Jantar Mantar, to attend a tea and food pairing session with entertaining and fun Chef Vicky Ratnani.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani ,The Park, New DelhiEven though it was promoted as the first of the kind tea and food pairing, I recall an earlier one at the Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi in August last year, with the very sweet tea specialist Anamika Singh doing the honours. I missed that one, so this was very welcome indeed.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani Why? I am not a tea drinker, as most of my friends know. Coffee is more ‘my thing’ yet I am intrigued by tea lovers and the amount of tea they can sip. The teen is also on a tea binge these days, blackcurrant from Teavirve her favourite to date, so my curiosity ran deeper.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky RatnaniSo on a chilly winter morning, we headed for the pool side setting of the cook out to be greeted by the energetic and hospitable Chef Vicky Ratnani dressed in bright tangerine yellow. A cheerful bright beginning to a cold afternoon! Somehow sitting next to a pristine blue pool of water made it a few degrees colder! We were so glad there was tea, loads of it!

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani The afternoon began with some cold fruit tea infusions … blackcurrant and orange, with the chef urging us to try the cocktails too. There were tea infused vodkas and martinis. The orange spicer vodka was nice, even though the black currant martini did taste slightly synthetic-y.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani The chef introduced us to the nuances of tea, perfect pairings like in wine and food, almost similar actually! He talked about how  light green tea goes well with deep-fried stuff like cocktail samosas and barbecued food like chicken tikka {which were doing the rounds} …. the tea acting as a palette cleanser,  contributing to rounding off flavours.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani The cook off began pretty soon. The  chef made his signature dish “Adrak ki Chai ka Kukkad” aka Masala Tea Poached Chicken. Chicken stock with whole spices like mace was gently steeped in a tea bag, and then the chicken breast poached in it for 8-9 minutes. The fillet was then removed and sliced, while a little cream was added to the tea flavoured stock. Such an interesting concept.

Adrak ki Chai ka KukkadHe also demonstrated a mash potato with an interesting Indian twist…the masala mash reminiscent of South Indian dosa aloos. Really nice and such fun to see the humble mash take a new dimension. Chef Ratnani talked about a cucumber ribbon salad, a 9 minute prep, that’s a great way to get kids especially to eat their salads . I loved how easy it looked. I was sure the kids would love it!

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani It was time to move on to lunch which was served poolside. The first course was Harissa spiced grilled veggies, mint and rocket leaf cous cous with chick pea puree {hummus I think}, paired with a ty.phoo Moroccan mint green tea. Perfect first course. For someone who is not an avid cous cous fan, I really enjoyed it.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani Was also some of the best hummus I have eaten in a while. I really enjoyed the tea too. Beautifully steeped, the flavours of mint pairing beautifully with the first course. {The second serving of tea was over steeped, and bitter}

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani Onto the main course, the poached chicken in the tea stepped sauce. Sadly it didn’t work for me. The sauce was really nice. Gentle, lilting flavours, slight undertones of tea … but the chicken was too meaty for me. Maybe poaching isn’t my ‘cup of tea‘. While I immensely enjoyed the base sauce, and the masala mash at the bottom, the pickled cucumbers too on top, I had to abandon the chicken.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani Of course, the good folk at The Park were wonderful and offered me the vegetarian option, which was quite nice. Cottage cheese cooked in mustard oil, pepper and maybe mustard encrusted … overall very interesting.  And soon dessert was announced, something we really looked forward too, yet something that sorely disappointed.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani It was the promise of a luscious flourless chocolate cake, The Park Chocolate Indulgence, that lit our eyes. Yet something was quite not right in there! It had synthetic, gelatin like overtones … and we were unanimous in our verdict.  The strawberries in a waffle basket were the saving grace, and paired well with a bold Ty.phoo Assam tea {the second serving again oversteeped and bitter}.

Ty.phoo ...Tea & Food pairing session with Chef Vicky Ratnani

Overall an interesting experience, enjoyed in good company and with the personal attention of witty and energetic Chef Ratnani. He’s a hands down foodie … exuberant, full of beans and so forthcoming. We came away with generous well packed boxes of Ty.phoo tea, a box full of enviable flavours! Immense possibilities too as I made Sticky Fig, Orange & Date Puddings with Earl Grey soon after, and Ruchira made Masala Chai & White Chocolate Creme Brulee. Alternatively, brew them with herbs and fruit like Sangeeta did.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


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