Recipe: How to throw a Central Asian Tea Party

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0534

 

The best kind of party is a tea party. Even better? A themed tea party. This week we’re exploring the Central Asian Tea Party.

As I read through many descriptions of teas in Turkmenistan (this week’s Global Table) and her neighboring countries, I realized there are just FIVE basic things you need for a Central Asian Tea Party.

Anything else is icing on the proverbial cake.

1.  Green or Black Tea. 

In Central Asia, people drink two main kinds of tea, green or black. Green tea is typically sipped in order to relax, while black tea is enjoyed for an energetic boost. Both are called “Chai,” which simply means tea.

When serving, the tea should be poured from very high up into each glass… do this at least three times. This aerates the tea and makes tiny bubbles (more on this in a moment).

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0315

2. Fun superstitions

Much of the fun of any global tea party is learning the superstitions that go with them. Here are two from Central Asia.

a) If you can tap the bubbles on your tea before they reach the edge of the glass, then Turkmen folk say you’ll come into good fortune.

We all got good fortune at our tea party!

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0292

b) If your tea leaves don’t settle to the bottom of your cup, it is said that you will have a visitor soon.

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0553

3. An attitude of “Less is more”

Central Asia is a place of simplicity. There are many nomads and there’s just not a lot of time for fuss. Consider using cups without handles, if you have them; they drink from what looks like small bowls.

Also, you can easily make do without a table. In fact, sitting cross legged around a clean cloth is a great move… and much more traditional for many parts of Central Asia.

4. Fresh Fruit & Nuts

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0508

Tea time is also snack time. Spread your table with a bounty of apricots, plums, cherries, grapes, cantaloupe, figs, and pistachios. In Turkmenistan they particularly love dried cantaloupe. I found some at Whole Foods.

5. Serve something very sweet

Small cakes, pastries, and other treats are often included in the spread. They should be dripping with honey – built with the kind of all consuming sweetness that makes you want to drink down your tea. Fast.

To this end, a hazelnut honey cake would be very welcome, as would a honey noodle snack.

armenian-cake

kazakhstan.img_6640

Another great option is bread with jam. Watermelon Jam is a thing in Turkmenistan.

Yum and yum.

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0578

So… what are you waiting for?

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0329

 

Enjoy a refreshing Central Asian tea with your loved ones.

turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0543

 

And, when you’re done, drink life in as heartily as you drank the tea!
turkmenistan.food.recipe.img_0276

Much of these tips were found in Turkmenistan, by Paul Brummell and Chai Budesh? Anyone for Tea?: A Peace Corps Memoir of Turkmenistan by Joan Heron.

Opt In Image
Hungry for more?
Be notified when National Geographic releases my memoir.

Simply fill in your details below.

Comments

  1. elisa waller says:

    tea time!!!! yay! I love the tea tips…I felt easy breezy after reading this :-)

  2. Hi,
    I am also cooking my way around the world but I am only in the B’s so I have a long way to go. I have found it difficult to find interesting recipes (especially for all the Caribbean countries). I just wanted to know where you find inspiration or recipes for all of the countries.
    Thanks
    Elly

  3. Just finished making the Watermelon Jam….waiting for it to “set”. Whole foods had the Pectin as recommended.

    Actually, just drinking the pureed watermelon with lemon juice…no sugar… is GREAT chilled in this summertime heat & humidity

    I also pureed some peeled plums and have been spreading on toast…without jamming.w/o lemon w/o sugar.

    All these fruits on sale are a temptation to buy and then how to eat them all..

    Good post….useful…functional

    .love

  4. I just today found your website via a friend on Facebook. I am so sad I am two years late to the party!! This is so amazing!!! I love everything about it — the food, the photos, the tips but especially the goal: the bring more peace to the world through shared experience and understanding. God bless you for what you are doing!!!! My heart is full!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Welcome, Diane! I love reading this, and don’t worry… we’ll find a way to continue the Adventure in some shape or size :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Asian Tea Party [Recipe] Invite a few friends over to experience a Central Asian Tea Party.  We’ll share seven ways [...]

Speak Your Mind

*