A cup of tea makes everything better but a kullad of chai makes everything the best.
Kullad Chai is what keeps you going in this cold, helps you hopping around, doing your chores outdoor and adds to the fun too. Tea in those plastic cups or even the glasses never tastes the same as one in kullad. Chai from a clay cup; that taste and smell of earth, mixed with sweet milky tea, yes that is the taste of India!! And not to mention the gratifying, childlike pleasure that comes with tossing the single-use clay cup and hearing it crack as it hits the ground and break into bits. In Uttar Pradesh, the common fun name for them in many of the station is, Pee-Ke-Phut. Pee Ke meaning drinking the tea and Phut meaning, the sound it makes when broken.
Though Chaiwalas tap the cups to remove the loose dirt or clay particles before filling it with Chai, yet the tea do get infused with little bit of clay. And frankly speaking to me that add the rustic feel to this tea thus enhancing its taste – Bringing the taste of India, the taste of soil of India! Nothing quite compare to drinking chai from one of these clay cups. Cradled in your hand a primitive cup and its warm dry rim on your lips, accompanied by an earthy smell and taste, it indeed strikes a rural chord deep down in our heart.
It was after I came to live in UP that I got to know another interesting method to drink this chai. They say one should nibble a little bit the edge of the kullad just before taking the first sip. These tiny bits of clay supposedly provide little extra earthy taste and feel to the tea. Their logic, well if you treat this kullad chai same as any other, how will you make the difference. So treat this not equally to other chais!
The common name across the country is Kullad. But I know of three other names, Odissa it’s called Buhnar, Benaras as Puruyaas and Bengal as Bhaad. These Kullads are both, environment friendly and lot more hygienic than usual plastic or glass cups especially when you are having in a roadside shop.
Here’s a Big Cheer to a “Kullad of Chai”.