Growing up in a Punjabi family, a typical intro to tea is – “Drinking Chai makes you dark”! It’s only much later that we realise the beauty of this beverage & truly appreciate it in various forms.
And where there’s talk of tea, we have to talk about the Kettle!
Kettles made for the perfect travel vessel. Chinese travelers in the ancient world boiled water to purify it & as legend has it, added tea leaves to improve flavour. Another interesting snippet is that European travellers added wheat grain to water, paving the way for Malt beer!
Bronze kettles were discovered by archaeologists that dated between 3500 & 2000 BCE while iron ones were found to have evolved around 18th century. Chinese used porcelain to create their own range of kettles, pots & cups.
It’s also believed that until much later, Kettle was more a generic term for a vessel, with or without the spout.
The scientific thought behind the kettle is simple. Heating water in a closed kettle with just a spout for opening, is naturally more efficient than an open vessel.
But there’s more to kettle use than just tea.
During a visit to Guwahati some years ago, I had an interesting variant of Pitha, the Ketli Pitha. It’s similar to Tekeli pitha, except that the latter uses earthenware while Ketli Pitha uses a Kettle.
The spout is closed & the pitha cake placed on the mouth of the jar above the water boiling inside. Trust me, the flavour of this dish is indescribable.
I discovered another aspect of tea kettle use in Turkey. Not one but two kettles! I was intrigued to see it in use & jumped at an invitation from a local family.
The stacked kettles are called çaydanlik & the technique is absolutely fascinating.
The smaller pot is placed on top of the larger one. Kettle at the bottom is filled with water & the top one with tea leaves.
When water comes to a boil, some of it is poured on the tea leaves & placed back in the original position. The tea continues to brew using steam from below.
While serving, the brew from the top pot is diluted as you need, with the boiled water. Brilliant isn’t it?
Now with kettles re-appearing more as props, painted ones at that, don’t forget to click a pic of the real one next time you enjoy a cutting chai 🙂
And share it with me using #PuraniYaadein