Friends, I am extremely excited to share today’s post! This is a concept that I have been mulling over for the last couple of years.
The concept of evening tea, or shaam ki chai in Urdu, is a whole mood in the South Asian subcontinent. Families gather around a spread of snacks, where conversations and cups of steaming hot milky tea flow. Often times guests will drop by in the evening with little to no prior notice, and the same custom is carried out for them.
Shaam ki chai isn’t a formal meal time like lunch or dinner, but it’s a mezze of sorts- a spread consisting of sweet and savory finger foods meant to be enjoyed with tea. The spread can be as lavish or simple as desired, and there are no hard and fast rules as to how to set it up.
It’s not news that I love fusing flavors, and the concept of creating a shaam ki chai board, a riff on a cheeseboard or grazing board, has been something that I’ve been wanting to create. It’s the perfect balance of traditional and modern, and there’s something there for everyone to enjoy. I’ve included a guide below as to what you can include on your board, and I hope it inspires you to get creative with your presentation.
Shaam Ki Chai Board / Evening Tea Board (Pakistani)
Fuse tradition with modern times to create a Shaam Ki Chai (Evening Tea) Board!
- Bakery/Cafe Items
- Fresh Fruit
- Nuts and Dried Fruit
Popular snacks that can often be found at evening tea are items that can be found at local bakeries or roadside stalls. Things like samosas, pakoras, puffs, and finger sandwiches are always well received. If you are serving something like samosas or pakoras, don’t forget to include a small bowl of its accompanying dipping sauce.
To be honest, no one ever eats fruit at evening tea but it’s always present. Use whatever you have, as it’s nice to have the option of something healthy. Also, it gives your board or platter a subtle hint of color and interest.
Nuts and Dried Fruit
Set up small bowls of any nuts or dried fruit you may have lingering in your pantry. They provide a nice crunch and help fill up any unfilled spaces on your board.
Chai and biscuits go hand in hand. Adults and children alike love to dip their favorite cookies or crackers in their tea. Be sure to include a sweet and savory option on your board. Popular items include marie cookies, saltines, glucose biscuits, and cake rusk.
Nimco and chewra are a variety of salty and spicy snacks that are often eaten alongside chai. Everyone has their favorite, so be sure to include a few options that your loved ones can choose from. Popular varieties include khatta meetha, classic chewra, sev, and chakalli.
You can’t have evening tea without tea! Brew your favorite blend and offer sugar to your guests on the side, as everyone has their own preferred level of sweetness.