Friday, 14 October 2016

Chaha or Chai

Chai is commonly sold in specialty stores called 'amruttulya' (आमृततुल्य). They're open all day long and the easiest way to spot one is to follow the aroma! These stores sell tea along with accompaniments like khari, biscuits, creamrolls and the kind. Chai or chaha (चहा), in Marathi is symbolic to fun, bonding and friendship. Chai is the ultimate comfort-drink for a majority of the population and the most important discussions about life happen over a cup of tea.  Back in the day, when mobile phones didn't exist, groups of friends would hang out at these tea stalls at a fixed time everyday. This culture is now changing to hanging out at starbucks.
Chaha served with Khari

When making chai at home, you could serve it with some kharis (खारी) or some bhaji (भजी)/ pakoras during the monsoon. If you're camping in the winter, sipping hot tea around a bonfire is something you should definately do!

Enough talk, here's the recipe:

Recipe for Chaha or Chai

Serves 2


Water1.25 Cups
Sugar4-5 tsp
Ginger0.5-0.75 inch piece
Cinnamon stick0.5 inch piece
Lemon grass (optional)1 long blade
Tea leaves2.5-3 tsp
Milk~1/3 Cup

How to make Chaha or Chai:

1. Pour the water into a pot and add the sugar. Snap the cinnamon stick into fours and add that as well.
2. Crush the ginger either with kitchen tongs (चिमटा) or a mortar and pestle and add it to the water. Sometimes in winter, we cut the lemongrass blades into 1cm pieces and add them in as well.
3. Now bring the water-spice mixture to a boil. Once the sugar dissolves, let it simmer for a minute or two, so that the flavours infuse.
4. Next, turn the heat to the lowest possible setting and add the tea leaves. Let the mixture boil for 30 seconds. Then, cover the pot and turn off the heat. 
5. Once the tea has steeped (~5 minutes), strain the mixture into cups and add milk to your liking. You're done!

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