Chai: the quintessential drink of choice for the majority of South Asian families, regardless of time, place or season. In our house, chai is served twice a day, in the morning and evening. The last few weeks for my family have been extremely busy as we have been gearing up for my brother’s wedding. “Nisha, ek cup chai pila de” (Nisha, make me a cup of tea) is something my mom has been saying often, especially on exhausting days of last-minute organizing, arranging and prepping for the wedding festivities. Luckily for us Lux Tea Company has been there for us on those busy days.
Lux Tea Company was started by the husband-wife team, Sandeep and Pinky Barot. Being tea lovers themselves, they were drawn to the tea industry not just by their passion for tea but for their interest in the tea development process.
They offer a wide range of tea products including herbal blends, loose leafs, instant chai and wellness teas. When they asked me to try their products, I instantly gravitated towards the instant chai, knowing how busy we would be during my brother’s wedding.
Chai brings back a different memory for everyone. For me, it was the first thing I learned to make for my mom. When we were young, my mom would come back after a busy day of work, school drops offs and pickups. It was a pleasure to make tea for her. As I entered the working world, I joined her in the ritual of evening tea. The hot cup of milky tea would wash away the day’s stress.
For Pinky Barot, co-founder of Lux Tea, chai has been a reminder of childhood.
“My favorite tea memory is from when I was just four years old. My parents had sent me on a trip to India without them to meet my maternal grandmother (I traveled with my older cousin and her husband). I stayed at my maternal uncle’s house while I was visiting, I had two cousins my age who had to drink milk every day, I was required to as well. I was pretty picky and didn’t like the thickness or taste of milk in India. My two cousins and I would be given a glass every morning and every night, I would find a way to pour mine down the sink, one day I got caught by my younger uncle while I was in the act of pouring! I was asked why I wasn’t drinking the milk, I began to cry and told my uncle why, and my aunt who was nearby heard the conversation.
The next morning my uncle poured a glass of milk and gave it to me and asked me to sit at the table and drink it, I began to cry and didn’t touch the milk. My aunt asked me if I would like to drink chai. I had it in the U.S. with my grandmother a couple of times so I quickly agreed. For the remainder of my trip, my aunt would make me a cup of chai to enjoy with her every morning which I happily consumed without tears! Being a part of the tea industry must have been destiny!”
To wash away our stress my mom and I turned to Lux Tea’s Instant Cardamom Chai. The hot chai with the cool cardamom flavor was just what we needed to give a moment to ourselves. Being that it’s a shaadi wala ghar (wedding house) the instant option was perfect as all we needed to do was add hot water or steamed milk. The sweetness was perfectly balanced with the rich flavor of cardamom.
For us, it was the cardamom chai and for Pinky it’s one of their white tea.
“My personal favorite tea in our selection is the white champagne raspberry tea. It’s so light and refreshing. When I’ve had a long or stressful day, I like to come home and have a cup as I unwind and prepare myself for the next day or week. White tea is low in caffeine so it doesn’t deter me from falling asleep!”
If you love tea and are looking to try something full of flavor and quality, Lux Tea Company delivers. You can visit their full range of products on their website.
While this review was done in partnership with Brown Girl Magazine & Lux Tea Company, all opinions expressed are my own.
It is officially that time of year—the holiday season. There’s nothing like Christmas and New Year’s in the West Indies. Between the pepperpot in Guyana and the palm trees decorated in lights in Trinidad, the home food, warm weather and laid-back ambiance makes us wish we could escape the cold and head back to the Caribbean. Most of us, however, cannot “take holiday” and find ourselves hungry for fresh dhal puri and doubles. But, thanks to these Indo-Caribbean food bloggers, we can bring the motherland to our kitchens.
From Diwali mithai specialties to curry chicken, Matthew is creating a name for himself as a young Guyanese food blogger. He makes a great effort to incorporate Hindu holidays and traditions on his Instagram account, in conjunction with the customary foods and sweets associated with these religious events. However, his expertise does not end there, with new and alternative recipes for classic dishes such as curry chicken and bhara, Matthew takes center stage sharing both traditional Guyanese dishes as well as specific religious dishes made for festivals. His most popular YouTube video, with 1.4 million views, features his grandmother and focuses on the best tips to make the softest Guyanese paratha roti. In addition, his YouTube account is home to many videos offering guidance to Indo Caribbean cooking. Find recipes at @mattews.guyanese.cooking
Natasha Laggan of Trini Cooking with Natasha is wildly popular throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. With humble beginnings, Natasha credits her love of food to her family’s business. She speaks of the nostalgia home food provides her as she reminisces memories of her grandmother’s cooking and helping her mother make sandwiches early in the morning. Featured by Forbes, Natasha grew her Facebook following quickly throughout the pandemic by posting old YouTube videos. Today, she has more than 1 million followers on Facebook and over 200K followers on YouTube. She uses her passion for cooking and Trinidadian culture to bring easy-to-follow recipes to viewers. Her following has now reached the West Indian diaspora globally as she has also become a brand ambassador to two well-known food companies. Follow the food expert @trinicookingwithnatasha.
With over 100K followers on YouTube, Ria is quite the expert when it comes to making roti. Her dhal puri, sada roti and paratha roti tutorials have over 1M views! However, her expertise does not stop there. Of the 180 YouTube tutorials, her recipes vary from curry to other Trinidadian favorites like macaroni pie and pigtail soup. Just scrolling through her YouTube page makes your mouth water. From doubles to classic Trinidad bakes like pound cake and sweet bread, she provides precision and anecdotal commentary while guiding you through the familiarity of home food. Check out Ria’s page at @cookingwithria.
Known as Chef Devan, Devan Rajkumar embraces his Guyanese Canadian heritage by creating recipes combining flavors of both the East and West Indies. His love of food has allowed him to expand his role to judge in a popular Canadian cooking show: Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. His cooking often blends the flavors of multiple cultures but also creates the classic recipes of his motherland. With a multitude of interests, Chef Dev uses his social media platform to connect with followers by sharing various aspects of his life that go beyond cooking. His most recent YouTube video provides a trailer for an upcoming video “Tastes Guyana” which shows him exploring Guyana from the inside, specifically deep parts of the inner country. To learn more about Chef Devan follow @chefdevan.
Reshmi is the chef behind the growing blog, Taste of Trinbago. A Trinidadian native who now resides in Texas, she uses her love of food and Trinidadian culture to share hacks, tips and easy recipes with West Indians throughout the globe. She finds a way to simplify traditional West Indian meals, that we once watched our elders make with curiosity. From holiday specialties like black cake to Diwali delicacies, Reshmi has brought vegetarian and non-veg recipes to followers in an extremely accessible way. She even posts recipe cards on her IG highlights for followers who may need written instructions. Her IG profile is a mix of various West Indian foods while also sharing bits of her life and even her secrets to baby food. Follow her @tasteoftrinbago.
These are just five Indo Caribbean food bloggers sharing their secrets to easy cooking. The once very daunting recipes and food instructions our parents gave have been simplified by most of these bloggers through video, voice over and modernized recipes. We no longer have to estimate a “dash, pinch or tuk” of any masala. We are just days away from Christmas and this is the perfect time to find the best-suited recipe to make that paratha for Santa.