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Arabian Tandoor Chai is now available in trichy

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You don’t have to go too far to find a storm in a teacup in Tiruchi. It’s there, being brewed and served with all the bubble-and-sizzle that a terracotta cup can handle, on Puthur’s 4 Roads Signal at Arabian Tandoor Chai.

Started in April by A Mohamed Aslam, a mechanical engineer-turned-restaurateur, Arabian Tandoor Chai is as much about a bracing cup of tea as it is about showmanship.

“I came across online videos that showed tea being served after being lightly stewed in the tandoor in Pune, and felt it could be an idea I could bring to our city,” says Aslam. “It’s an economical and innovative business idea suitable for young entrepreneurs as well.”

As customers stream in from 7am to 11pm, almost all the attention is focused on the tall blue metal drum that functions as the tandoor oven. Hot coals toast dozens of terracotta mugs (called kulhar) within, while pre-prepared spiced tea is stored in an insulated tabletop dispenser.

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A kulhar is picked out from the tandoor with the help of a metal gripper, and filled with tea from the dispenser.

The heat in the kulhar cooks the piping hot tea a little further, making it froth over; another long-handled vessel is held under the kulhar to catch the overflow. Once the bubbles settle down, the tea is poured into a fresh set of glazed terracotta mugs and passed around.

“We serve 1,500 cups of tandoor chai daily, so the terracotta cups that we use in the oven have to be replaced every four to five days,” says Aslam, who adds that he has received over 40 franchising queries across the State after he started out.

The smoky tea is lightly sweetened with hints of mint, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, and is a good way to round off a heavy meal or simply as a pick-me-up before a busy day. There are other street foods like ‘Thattuvadai set’ from Salem and ‘Kulukki Sharbat’ from Kerala, besides ice creams on offer at the eatery.

But for now, Tandoor Chai is everyone’s cup of tea.

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