Hot Masala Chai

Masala Chai

Masala chai in a clay cup

I just bought a ‘spiced chai’ at Pret, one of those white-tile-and-stainless-steel-adorned cafe chains in London. My tea has been served in a thick paper cup with a thin plastic lid; when I look inside I discover it’s a pyramid-tea-bag-in-hot-water-with-a-hint-of-some-steamed-milk kind of chai. And to my disappointment it tastes like it. It’s bland to say the least. It’s not really an authentic ‘indian masala chai’ like I used to drink from one of those bit-of-freshly-swept-mud-floor tea stalls along the road in India, full of sugar and black tea leaves and boiled with milk (likely from a cow in the nearby village) and water from some dubious source where you just pray that the cup has been washed somehow to resemble clean – and when you take a first sip and the cardamon or ginger comes through and the colour is a nice milky dark brown and the sweetness of the sugar rushes to your head – you notice that life is suddenly very good in that little bit of India.

A proper chai stall

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One Response to Hot Masala Chai

  1. Chai is one of my favourite things! and so easy to make
    Though I’ve made it for years, my final rest is with a Zanzibari take on it (I’m biased, as my wife is Zanzibari).
    Tea leaves, fresh ginger, cassia bark, cardamom pods, whole black peppercorns, 1 or 2 cloves, a shave or two of nutmeg (pref slices, not powdery), sugar (or honey) and milk – added after the former has simmered a good ten mins or so.
    On a hike in the chilly English countryside, you can’t beat having a flask of chai along with…

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