Summer afternoons would be commonly spent with the uncles crowded around the television watching cricket matches and aunties busy in the kitchen gossiping and sending out pots and pots of chai and glucose biscuits. We kids would only get to eat the biscuits. On a lucky day, a kind aunty would fry us some samosas or pakoras. But chai? Nope! “Kids don’t drink chai” mummy would reply with a gentle tap on the back of our head. That’s the memory that chai brings for me or sometimes it takes me back to those monsoons.
The ones where we would be sitting under a tin shade in front of the tea stall outside our college building. Rain would be pouring and we would all be half drenched in water, shivering with cold. A glass of hot masala chai tucked tightly between our palms, breathing in the aroma of cardamom and ginger we would slowly be sipping away that chai warming ourselves from inside. Chemistry practicals, latest fashion, secret crushes and disastrous dates, everything would be discussed over “one cutting” (a term commonly referred to half a cup of chai in India). For Indians chai isn’t just a beverage; it’s also a way of cherishing the simple things in life, and an excuse to bring people together and celebrate the present.
Chai commonly served in Indian homes is not as milky as the ones you find at the coffee shops across North America, popularly known as “chai tea” or “chai latte”. There’s an interesting article Manisha Pandit wrote on chai and titled it as “Drop the Tea; its already there in your Chai“. This post made me giggle and talks about a few misconceptions people have about their greatly loved Indian chai. Give it a read!
Masala chai is an essential part of life in India, where having a cup or two (or maybe three) of chai in the morning is akin to brushing your teeth every day. I still think there is still no “recipe” to a right chai masala, in order to make a masala chai. Chai masala, Masala chai?! Confused? Well, Chai masala is a blend of spices used to make a spiced tea which is called Masala chai in Hindi.
The spice preference in a masala chai recipe varies from family to family and from person to person, but some of the most common spices used in a masala chai are ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper and nutmeg. Either mix all these spices in equal quantity, adjust the amount according to your taste or just pick a few of your choice. I personally like mine with ginger only and sometimes with cardamom. Towards the end of this blog post I have shared a recipe to my favorite Ginger and Cardamom Chai.
Along with home decor and furnishing, Gitadini also has a small but interesting line of kitchenware. I was impressed by their modern take on the traditional Indian kitchen quintessential and also at their usability. I made sure I used all the products enough before I talk about them. I can say by their usability that it shows it has been designed by someone who has been in and around Indian kitchen for a while. I personally loved the ones displayed here in this post.
Gitadini was kind enough to giveaway any featured product of their choice to one lucky reader of Indian Simmer. In the comments section below please tell me which product you would want to try. Choose from Rotito Rolling Board Set, Medium Saucepan or Yin Yang Storage Bin. This giveaway is open till April 1st 11:59 pm PST. On April 2nd I will randomly select a winner and announce on the blog.
Alright lets get to the recipe for Ginger Cardamom Chai, the kind that I make in my kitchen.
Ingredients: serves 4
3 cups water
3/4 cup milk (whole or 2%)
3 teaspoons loose darjeeling black tea (or can also use 3-4 black tea bags)
4-5 teaspoons sugar (the family prefers dark brown sugar and I like honey.)
3/4-1 tablespoon tablespoon fresh grated or crushed ginger
2 smashed cardamom pods
In a medium sized saucepan heat water on stove top.
Add sugar and tea. Let the water come to a boil. Then turn the heat to medium and add milk.
Let it cook for 3-5 minutes or until the white froth of milk on top settles down.
Add ginger and cardamom. Cover the saucepan with a tight lid, turn the heat off and let the flavors steep into the chai for 3-5 minutes
Using a strainer strain out the tea, ginger and cardamom out of your chai.
Transfer into tea cups and serve steaming hot with some glucose biscuits!
Entry to this giveaway has been closed.