i’ve been to india twice. both for volunteer purposes. i love a million things about india, and i can’t wait to go back soon. the thing i miss the most, is the chai. I LOVE CHAI. aka tea. chai means tea, so when you say “chai tea” it’s like tea tea. kind of like the “Sahara desert” – just means desert desert.
the second time i was in india, i was living at a house where all the volunteers lived. there were 3 indian women that lived there. they cooked, taught us hindi, watched bollywood movies with us, and made us CHAI! so in india, every where you go it’s a hospitality gesture to give you chai. fine by me because that shit is good.
i loved the chai so much, i asked one of the ladies to teach me how to make it. so for a week she made me help her make the chai every afternoon [they like to drink chai in the afternoon just for a pick me up]. it seemed so easy, and even though i made it several times and wrote it down, i still can’t do it! loose tea levels, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger if you are cold [those were her specific instructions, only add ginger if you’re cold], hot water, sugar and milk. she of course didn’t use measurements, but she knew just exactly how much to use. perfecto.
i even bought tea masala in india. tea masala is just a mixture of tea leaves and all the spices so you can just add water and milk and sugar and voila. nope even that didn’t taste right. i tried adding in everything separately. nope that didn’t work. over the years i’ve tried to make it probably a hundred times. and to get rid of the loose tea leaves? i used a coffee filter. then i tried to use a spaghetti strainer. oy. this was quite the process. why did she make it look so easy? i even helped her! what was wrong with me? when i went to ethiopia TWO YEARS LATER i bought a tea strainer from a man on the side of a dirty street for 3 Birr, which is like 18 cents. i was like aaahaaa! this will make my indian chai just the way i need it. no, that didn’t work either.
something clicked in the ol’ nogin (thank you yoga), and i got it down. follow here if you want a delicious pick-me-up and you want to taste india (no don’t do that, that makes me think of licking the extremely dirty street in new delhi which is filled with paper, trash, food scrapes, and human p…. don’t need to say more).
- boil water
- put water in cup, leaving a tiny bit of room
- add a teaspoon of honey. the honey melts off the spoon. this is my favorite part of the process.
- add tea bag.
- add 4 green cardamom seeds. this can be found at any indian grocery store. they are the cheapest from here! other stores will charge and arm and leg. not necessary.
- add other spices if you want – cinnamon, ginger, cloves. i only add these if i am feeling fancy.
- strain tea bag.
- add a little bit of soy creamer. i usually just add as much until the color is the way i want
*side note: a Kate Spade tea cup will also make your chai taste even better.