Afternoon tea is common amongst luxury hotels in Goa, however, at the Alila Diwa in Majorda, South Goa, afternoon tea takes on a whole new meaning.
Not high tea but masala chai
Imagine enjoying a lazy afternoon, lying on a partially submerged sunbed in the stunning infinity pool at the luxurious hotel, Alila Diwa. You feel a little thirsty. On cue an unfamiliar drink is served to you, intriguingly in a rustic clay cup. What’s this? Masala chai, a black tea with an aromatic mixture of Indian herbs and spices, such as ginger, cinnamon, black peppercorns, fennel seeds and cardamom. And it is served in a kullad, a traditional handle-less terracotta cup.
What’s more, you won’t find finger sandwiches, dainty pastries or scones with this afternoon tea. If you are feeling peckish, tuck into the delights from the poolside chaat stall, with a range of edible treats, more commonly served from roadside street food stalls throughout India and beyond.
Introducing the Indian street food, ‘chaat’.
If you are not familiar with chaats, they are street food snacks that locals enjoy at any time of day, be that for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or a snack in between. They can be sweet, sour, tangy or spicy, and most often crisp and crunchy! Here’s a mini guide to some of our favourites.
Also known as Gol Gappa, depending on what part of India you are in, these round dough balls are stuffed with potatoes, chickpeas, onions and chutneys, and then fried and served with water flavoured with tamarind or mint. You should eat them by spooning a little of the flavoured water into the centre of the crisp dough ball and pop it whole into your mouth – they’d be far too messy to eat in any other way.
image credit: Santhosh Varghese | Shutterstock
Originating from Mumbai, puris (papdis) are deep fried, puffed up thin, crisp crackers covered with chopped boiled potatoes, onions and tomatoes plus three kinds of chutneys, namely red, sweet and green. Finally, they are garnished with small and thin fried potato shreds called sev, a common chaat garnish. You’ll need to eat it quickly before the crisp puris go soggy!
Samosas are fried pastries filled with spicy potatoes and peas. To make samosa chaat, they are chopped up and drizzled generously in chutney, yogurt and garnished with sev; a delicious combination. They are similar to Sev Puri but spicier and more substantial.
These are spicy fried potato and onion patties served with chickpea curry, yogurt and chutneys on the side. To eat this, you use the tikki patty to scoop up a generous amount of each of the side dishes in turn.
Dahi Bhalla / Vada
This spicy dish is made with lentil and chickpea dumplings, smothered in a creamy yogurt, topped off with green chutney and sweet tamarind chutney and sprinkled in spices. It’s delicious. It’s hot. You’ve been warned!
above: Vada dumplings
Crispy flat puris (papdis) topped with potato, chickpeas, moong beans, onion with green chutney and sweet chutney, yogurt and crispy sev. The result is a fantastic combination of flavours and textures.
Afternoon tea at Alila Diwa
Afternoon tea and chaats at Alila Diwa is served between 4 and 7 pm each day outside the Vivo restaurant, overlooking the pool and the surrounding paddy fields. It is free to all the guests staying in the Diwa Club (where it is served by the pool in the Club’s restaurant). Otherwise, it costs INR150 per portion of chaats and INR100 per cup of masala chai. Typically, there are four different chaats available each day.
To enjoy masala chai and chaats yourself, why not book a holiday to Alila Diwa today?
If you ‘d like to know more about chaats, you’ll find 32 different chaat recipes on the website Veg Recipes of India. And here’s a recipe for The Ultimate Masala Tea.
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