Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quiet Mornings With Masala Chai

I have a morning ritual. Everyday. I am up at 4.30 a.m. and untill my daily chores begin at 5.30, I dedicate this one hour to myself. I was never a morning person for the longest time, but last year I adopted a lifestyle which is healthier and sustainable. I started a Paleo Diet, found an excellent nutritionist who guided me and helped me to lose a tremendous amount of weight. Apart from that, I also began excercising. I figured, if I want to lead a long and a fit life, to enjoy some grandbabies (primarily and God willing) I better do something about it. :) 

Even though we are only two and a half in my family, I still have plenty to do during the day. There is a quiet lull in the hot afternoons and evenings are again busy, untill bed time. So this one hour in the morning is my favourite part of the day, when it is still dark outside and the boys are fast asleep. No TV, no music and no sound. I am still in my PJ's and the first thing I do is brew a cup of Chai for myself. While I sip my tea, I sometimes just sit and soak up the silence. Sometimes I read or surf the net. Usually I journal. No structure to my ritual, just being at peace thinking of the day ahead. I have been meaning to share my way of making 'Masala Chai' since some time now. My husband is a coffee drinker and is not fussy at all about his coffee. Me on the other hand, am fussy about how I make my Chai. We have managed to live with this difference quite easily, like an old pair of gloves, fitting comfortably, without abrasions. After all these years, he has infact learnt how to make me a perfect cuppa. And I think that is lovely. 

Here is how you do it my way:

1 medium sized  cup of water 
1 small sized cup of full fat milk

1 tbsp tea leaves which has been mixed with:

1/2 tsp or 2  cardamoms crushed coarsely
1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
A small pinch of cinnamon powder (optional) 
Sugar to taste

I usually make my own blend at home. I grind cardamoms, cinnamon and dry ginger coarsely and mix it with my 500gms of tea leaves. Store in an air tight container, saves me the hassle of opening individual spice jars. You can see tiny specks of cardamom skin in the pic above, blended with the tea leaves! :)

Set the water to boil in a sauce pan. Add milk to it. As it just starts to boil, add the tea leaves with the spices. It is important to remember, not to tip in the leaves if the milk-water is not really hot or almost boiling. Else the flavours of the tea leaves gets locked in without being released properly. 
Bring to boil once, reduce flame to low and brew gently for a minimum of five minutes and maximum eight minutes. By this time your chai will be done. I dont drink it very strong, so five minutes are good for me. Strain and serve in a pretty mug. Take time, be slow, savour and sip your way to the zen land. 

Here's to my Chai Mornings! 

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