Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day C: Chai and Chobi

This April, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, writing about the A to Z of Iraqi Culture. Do give in your own two cents in the comments below and let me know if you have anything to add or something similar to share from your own culture.
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Spot an Iraqi from miles away by the crystal istikaan in their hand, filled to the brim (to the point that it's slopping on to the tiny plate balancing it) with tea as dark as can be, saturated in sugar.

Whether it's morning, afternoon, night or in-between meals, any time is chai time. Calling tea made by a tea-bag dipped in boiling water chai is a joke in Iraq. "This is not tea," as my uncle points out, "this is merely a hot beverage."

To serve chai that an Iraqi approves of, boil tea leaves with hot water in a tea-pot, above a second tea-pot with boiling water, with a cardamom or two and a string of saffron added for good measure.


Or better still, use a samovar- a metal container powered by charcoal- just like they did in the olden days.

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Chobee -a folk dance with Assyrian roots is one of Iraq's traditional dances.

17 comments:

  1. I drink a form a chai, I think Indian, but I know it has cardamom in along with other spices and milk. Maybe just a hot beverage to your uncle but I like it better than just plain tea. I love the folkdance. I am familiar with American and Serbian folk dances.

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  2. Chai :D We had it in Saudi - assuming it's that, or maybe they were tricky and it was just the 'hot beverage' you describe -_-' Donno. Another reason why I'd have to go to Iraq.

    Cute dance :P

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  3. Anything saturated in sugar is right up my alley!
    Jenn @Scribbles From Jenn

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  4. I love chai, and thats right, the tea-bag tea is not chai and it's a poor thing to compensate for chai

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  5. Chai is very Indian to me--- intrigued to see it as part of your culture as well!

    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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  6. I've always wanted to try Chai, it sounds really nice :)

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  7. My parents - actually, all adults I know - can't get through their day without a steaming cup of chaya [tea in Malayalam, my mother tongue] in the morning. It's almost like an addiction.

    I love the theme of your A-Z posts. I was touched to read about how you help new neighbours settle down. That definitely encourages societies to remain well-knit and be there for each other in times of need.

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  8. Chai tea is a big fad, here in Oz! I don't mind a good cup now and then. I have also tried tea made by a Tibetan monk. They boil theirs on the stove with the milk added and a lot of sugar - I found it a little sickly! My favourite tea is English Breakfast with just a hint of milk.

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  9. I like chai but it's the only sweetened tea I drink. I've never had it made in the traditional way.

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  10. Chai!! My first love!! I'm a tea addict....and NOTHING beats a good chai!!! :)

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  11. I love chai! Whenever I need to be "uplifted" or feel better, I turn to chai and relax. I didn't know how it was made.

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  12. Hello from A to Z! I love chai tea. I love the spicy aftertaste that it leaves on my tongue. The flavor really opens up my taste buds.

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  13. your uncle wouldn't like my tea! interesting post.

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  14. My dad, who was Russian, always drank his tea from a glass in a metal holder, with a spoonful of raspberry jam in the bottom. Tea in Russian is called "chai." I still have those glasses, and when I serve it that way, I think about him.

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  15. Chai made from tea-bags is laughed at in Pakistan too! And it always had to be given more than a boil to taste right, what we call the 'karrak chai'.

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