Cold, rainy morning, not very long ago in a comfortable booth at Dishoom on St Martin’s Lane.
A motley crew of Dishoom-wallahs, mulling over ideas for Christmas.
ST: (staring intently at glass of Chai) I know I sound like a scratched Mohamed Rafi vinyl, but our Chai is rocking. There is no better Chai this side of Colaba Causeway. (That’s in Bombay. India. By the way.)
BT: (Wearing black hat and Wayfarers, inappropriately, for the setting is indoors) Can’t beat it. Drives away the blues, when you got dem blues…(pulls out sitar and breaks into a blues riff…)
All: (murmurs, wise nods of agreement)
CB: Ah yes. Drives away dem blues….like a bottle of the good stuff….
ST: OMG. LOL. That’s it!
ST: Yaar. That’s totally what we should do for Christmas. The only thing better than our Chai, would be our Chai….with benefits.
BT: (eyebrow raised) Like, pimp my Chai?
ST: Well yeah, but more like naughty chai. Sexed up Chai. You know.
CB: Hmm. It’s gonna have to have a bit of a kick for it to be Christmassy.
BT: Or… how about Bailey’s and Chai…
CB: How about Chai with Dark Chocolate Syrup, chocolate shavings, a little Bourbon, cream.
All: (sharp intake of breath, followed by glances of admiration)
BT: I love it when a plan comes together (chomps cigar…)
And so it came to pass that the Yuletide season brought forth our naughty Chais.
That very same evening, the hot bar-wallahs took a few drams of good stuff (Bourbon, Rum, Cognac) and stuck them in Dishoom Chai. And they saw that it was good and it pleased them.
They dare you not to be tempted by Naughty Chocolate Chai – with dark chocolate liqueur, chocolate shavings, Bourbon and Chai.
And Bailey’s Chai is an outrageous treat. Warm, luxurious, and topped with a layer of fresh cream.
Or Chai Egg Nog – as festive as it gets. With Hennessy VS and dusted with nutmeg and cinnamon.
It’s like a warm hug from a familiar friend. Who you suddenly realise is really pretty sexy. (So then, naturally, you’ll want another one.)
And if for any reason you don’t fancy a Naughty Chai (Hello? Anyone?!?), you can also keep out the chill in the air with a gorgeous Winter Pimm’s, served warm with Calvados and cloudy apple juice, gently spiced. Or sip on our Desi Mulled Wine, infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and black pepper.
Try them. They’re outrageously good. Seriously, if your Christmas isn’t merry after these naughty Dishoom treats, we’ll eat our slightly old and dirty Indian Christmas party hats.
Available from 14th November.
As a thirteen year old boy in Delhi with endless energy and appetite, I treasured Sunday mornings. I’d wake up early, jump on my rickety Hero Cycle bicycle and hurriedly pedal five miles to a park close to Shantivan and Raj Ghat. There, me and my friends would set-up makeshift stick stumps and play cricket for hours… or until our minds and bellies turned (inevitably) to food.
The festival of Eid al-Fitr (literally “the Celebration of the Breaking of the Fast”) marks the conclusion of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month where restraint and discipline must be practised.
In India, mealtimes are very much a family affair and everything is shared which makes these cheese-and-pastry twirls perfect for making together this half-term. They’re incredibly easy to make, which make them just right for keeping little hands happily occupied during the holidays.
The culmination of Ramadan will bring with it Chand Raat (the night of the moon), an evening of great excitement and unity. It’s the eventide or moment the first crescent moon of the month is observed, which marks the end of the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, a period of fasting, prayer and reflection, and the start of Eid, the beginning of great festivities.