Saturday, June 18, 2011

Masala Chai, because "Chai tea" means "Tea tea"

"Chai Tea" means "Tea" in Hindi, Persian, Urdu, and Bengali (or a variation of the word), followed by "Tea" in English. Besides for giving this ancient medicinal beverage from halfway around the world a ridiculous name, America has also turned it into a milkshake. Even worse is the "Chai tea latte" meaning "Tea tea milk", spoken in a number of South East Asian languages, English, and then Italian.

 The traditional "Masala Chai", or "Spiced Tea", is a mixture of milk, water, loose leaf tea, and spices simmered on the stove. Eager to use to heaps of dried spices I picked up in southern Tel Aviv on my recent trip to Israel, I set off to make Masala Chai the way a [vegan] chai wallah, or South East Asian tea vendor, might do it. It's a wonderfully spicy, sweet soothing drink that's as pleasurable to smell as it is to taste.

 Masala Chai
- 2 C almond milk
- 2 C water
- 1 level tbsp black tea
- 1 handful dried spices: cinnamon, ginger, green cardamon, cloves, and dried roses (optional)
- honey

Bring almond milk, water, tea and spices to a boil on the stove. Reduce heat and allow tea to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into two cups, then swirl in honey, to taste. Top with frothy almond milk for a Chai tea latte, or what we enlightened ones like to call a Tea tea milk. To maintain the theme of redundancy in different languages, bhog keejeeae, berma'id and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Great article, Rachel! I remember growing up in London my mother would often say "who wants a cup of cha?". Years later doing business in China I would be offered cha at least 10 times a day - either black, green, jasmine or chrysanthemum. I'll give your recipe a try! David