Chai spices 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

11.11.11 Chai Wallah

I would so love it if I had a fabulous little chai wallah to come around every morning bringing me tea. I got pretty spoiled on my honeymoon in India, especially when we were staying at Aman-i-Khás in Rajasthan, on the edge of the Ranthambore National Park. We went on safari every morning, setting out before dawn in open Land Rovers in the hope of glimpsing a tiger. In the frigid dark we would be handed hot water bottles and camel's hair blankets, and upon our return, in the stone patio now flooded with sunlight, we were greeted with steaming cups of masala chai. (For a more in-depth explanation of chai, visit an earlier post, here.) I'm writing about it again now because this is the time of year I really begin to crave it. It's full of such a wonderfully warming mix of spices and if you make your own, you can customize a blend that emphasizes what you love best. In India, masala chai is made with strong black tea and assertive spices like clove, fennel, ginger and pepper. The Kashmiri version is made with green tea and often includes more subtle flavors like almond, cardamom and saffron. I'm enjoying mine so much these days thanks to the raw cow's milk I brought back from Vermont, but it also tastes delicious with almond or hemp milk.
Tagged — dried ginger