Slam Dunk! There’s Only One Way to Have Biscuits and Chai, OK?
Camera Person: Athar Rather and Abhishek Ranjan
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
To biscuit or not to biscuit?
To biscuit, without a doubt.
India runs on chai. Be it the quintessential morning tea or the evening cuppa with friends. But what is the best accompaniment with tea? Biscuit (after sutta of course!). Don’t we all just love dunking biscuits in tea. Did you know that your biscuit becomes 11 times more flavourful after being dipped into the milky drink?!
But First, What Is A Biscuit?
Biscuits are nothing but dried up grains of starch. 2300 years ago the Romans invented biscuits, with the word coming from a Latin term Bis-coctum which means ‘twiced baked’. It was made from flour and water, which was the best way to preserve carbohydrates for sailors and warriors who traveled long distances. The low water content in them ensured that it could be preserved for a longer time. And back then, tea and coffee had not made their way to Europe, so to soften their twice-baked hard biscuits. they had to dip it in wine.
From Wine to Chai – How Did All the Dunking Start?
From the then-Romans to the now-desi variants, from the twice-baked harder versions to the now-ubiquitous softer ones, biscuits have come a long way. And so have our dunking habits. Did you also know there is a full-fledged experiment proving why biscuits become tastier after being dunked into a milky drink?!
Mr. Len Fisher in 1998 on ‘National Biscuit Dunking Day’ presented this experiment in the UK. He said all the action happens between surface tension of the beverage and the porosity of the biscuit. He further argued that it gets wet because a biscuit is porous. It is riddled with interconnecting hollow channels. Once you dunk your biscuit into tea or coffee it gets access to these channels, and capillary action sucks the liquid deeper into the channels leaving your biscuits irresistible!
But Which Is the Best Liquid to Dip Your Biscuit?
My fellow Indians, tea is not the best liquid to dip your biscuit. That award goes to ... milk! Milk is basically tiny droplets of fat suspended in water. These droplets of fat do two things. Firstly they absorb the flavour molecules really well. And secondly, the droplets hang in your mouth so that the flavour and aroma chemicals can sit on your tongue and be released up to your nose. Whoa!
And Among Biscuits, Who Is the Undisputed Champion?
Dunking is great and makes the biscuit tasty and all but if you don’t stop dunking it before the critical time, then your 11-times-tastier biscuit will end up in your tea cup before reaching your mouth. After doing a experiment ourselves we found out that, five seconds is the average time to safely dunk a biscuit – whereas Parle G is a few seconds less and Rusk a few seconds more.