A Perfect Cup of Chai

Chai stand in India – photo by Erinda Martin

During my travels across India I got spoiled with delicious Masala Chai everywhere I went. Masala means spice mix, and Chai means tea. I find it funny that we usually call it Chai Tea in the west, because obviously we are calling it “Tea Tea” if you think about it. Anyways, whatever you want to call it, there are tea stalls everywhere in India and there is no shortage of spices or the will of Chai makers to prepare a fresh cup upon request. A cup of freshly prepared Masala Chai became a daily ritual for me, one that I knew would become challenging to maintain once I returned home in USA. I find that any Chai that I have tasted in USA is saturated with cinnamon flavor and aroma lacking on all the other spices. Realizing this quickly as I have just arrived back home in the U.S., I decided to make my own Masala Chai following the authentic recipe that my good Indian friend and fellow Yogi, Sumit, shared with me in India. Are you ready? Below I have listed all the ingredients for a spicy cup of fresh Masala Chai. If you are trying this on your own, I recommend testing out the amounts of each listed spice until you find the perfect balance for your own taste buds. Ready, go!

Dry spices for Masala Chai – photo by Erinda Martin

Ingredients:

  • Milk – whole or hemp milk for non-dairy option – half cup milk per one cup Chai
  • Water – half cup of water per one cup of Chai
  • Black Tea – English Breakfast type, unflavored – 1 table spoon per cup
  • Ginger – 1 inch or 2.5 centimeter piece
  • Nutmeg powder – half teaspoon
  • Cardamom pods – 2 to 3 pods
  • Cloves – 2 to 3 buds
  • Fennel seeds – about 10 seeds
  • Cinnamon stick – about 1 inch or 2.5 centimeter long stick
  • Whole black peppercorns – 2 to 4 or more for spicier Chai
  • Saffron – 1 to 2 pistols
  • Sweetener – jaggery, brown sugar, or coconut sugar for low glycemic diet – amount to taste

You will also need a mortar and pestle to freshly grind the spices, as well as a fine mesh strainer.

Preparation for Masala Chai – photo by Erinda Martin

Preparation:

  • Peel and chop the ginger.
  • Break up the cinnamon stick to small chunks.
  • Crack open the cardamom pods extracting the seeds and discard the shells.
  • Mix the cinnamon, cardamom, clove, fennel and peppercorn and grind them with mortar and pestle.
  • Add the nutmeg powered to the ground spices, along with the ginger and water in a pot and bring them near boil over medium heat.
  • Add the black tea and bring them to quick boil.
  • Add the milk and bring them to another quick boil, occasionally stirring the mix to avoid over-boil.
  • Just before the boil add the saffron.
  • Remove from heat and pour over fine mesh strainer onto a container.
  • Double strain to remove spice residue, pouring directly to cup the second time.
  • Add sweetener of choice to taste.Here you have it, a delicious home made cup of Masala Chai, spicy and delicious to make your taste buds dance with excitement! Cheers!
Masala Chai ready to enjoy – photo by Erinda Martin

Special thanks to my friend Sumit for passing on this recipe to me. I have tested it on my own and shared some homemade Chai with family and friends, with satisfactory feedback. I hope you all give it a try and enjoy it as well!

~ Erinda

 

 

Memories from Southeast Asia

I wrote this post last year around this time when my husband, Seth, and I had just returned from an unforgettable trip to southeast Asia. I got to celebrate my big 30th birthday there scuba diving among many other amazing experiences… I never posted this entry anywhere, and I actually never finished telling the story. So, I’ll start by sharing the beginning of it this time. And hopefully in the near future I’ll finish sharing all the rest of it.

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3 weeks. 3 countries. Big 30th birthday! No expectations. Just miracles!

Southeast Asia stole my heart. I absolutely loved it, all the ups, the minor downs, and everything else in between! From bathing with baby elephants to feeding monkeys, from sunrise at one of the ancient world’s wonders to scuba diving among beautiful marine life, along with endless ancient temples and gorgeous serene beaches, Southeast Asia provided more than I even imagined. I fell in love every morning waking up and stayed up late night after night as life in those moments was more exciting than the idea of a good night sleep.

We spent a few months planning this trip, although the real planning started just a few weeks before the departure date. This was certainly the trip of a lifetime, but only until the next one… Yes, the travel bug has inevitably bitten me and therefore more worldly adventures are in our near future horizon already. More on this later so stay tuned!

~ Erinda

To be continued…

Hello from India!

Hello world, I am writing to you from beautiful India, filled to the brim with excitement to be here! I arrived in Delhi on November 1st and I am planning to travel around this fascinating country for three months. During this time, I plan on visiting sacred sites, explore forts and royal dwellings, advance my Yoga practice and teaching, experience and learn new styles of meditation, enjoy some beautiful nature, and most definitely eat the most delicious food, ever!

Words could not do justice in explaining the vastness of my joy right now. I have been wanting to make this trip reality for years, and so now it finally is. In my best attempt to showcase glimpses of this beautiful country and culture, I will continue on this post with photos instead, hopefully expressing a thousand words through them. I hope you enjoy! Make sure to check on my public Instagram feed here for regular posts as I move around the country.

Chalo Chale? Basically meaning “let’s get going” in Hindi 😉  I do love languages after all!

India Gate
Red Fort
Traditional Indian dancers outside Red Fort
Red Fort gates
Inside the Red Fort
Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

POST NOTE:

If you enjoyed these photos from my first few days in India, you may really enjoy the new Instagram account I created specifically dedicated to travel photography. Check it out here and show some love with your thumbs and words!

~ Erinda