From India with Masala Chai

From India with Masala Chai


Laura Florick

One of the greatest pleasures of my life was to wake up in the morning and drink Chai on the porch while listening to temple chants blaring from across the street in Bhopal, India. There are many interesting sites in Madhya Pradesh including the Sanchi stupa, the erotic temples at Khajuraho, and a fascinating new tribal museum in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum).

Temple in Khajuraho



Rock art of a man being hunted by a beast at Bhimbetka


Masala Chai is one of my favorite drinks, and I had no idea that it was brewed differently there than in my own kitchen at home in the US.

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Masala Chai


For Masala Chai (“Spiced Tea”):

-Boil 1 part milk and 2 parts water together (perhaps a little extra, because some will evaporate)

-After water and milk are boiled, add 1 Tbsp loose tea leaves for a medium sized cup (many families I had Chai with used Brookband Red Label)

-Add fresh chopped ginger and cardamom pods (the spices used vary greatly depending on the region and complexity, but these are the two that were used most often in the places I stayed. You can also add cinnamon, clove, and fennel.)

-Boil briefly

-Add sugar (locals like a lot of sugar in their Chai, so the amount is up to you)

-Boil briefly

-Use a strainer to pour out the tea, and there you have it!

India is one of the most interesting countries I have ever visited, equal parts joyful elation and heart-pounding dread. The influence of both ancient and modern technologies and lifeways are so stark there and while it is perceived in the west (often incorrectly) as a poor country, they also house some of the wisest, hardest working, and most talented people I’ve ever met and certainly one of the richest cultural mixes in the world.

Here is a loosely translated mantra that was taught to me there that certainly all fellow Anthropologists and Archaeologists can appreciate:

This is yours, this is mine

A narrow minded person says this.

An open minded person says this:

The whole world is a family.

Looking for wild Peacocks near Sanchi