Roadside Chai-Wallah in Udaipur.
Fast forward a year, and we find ourselves back in the UK with India a distant memory... until we visited the Great Dorset Chilli Festival 2 weeks ago. Feeling in need of refreshment we popped into Mr Tea's tea tent and when I spied Chai on the drinks list I had to try it.
On taking the first sip I was instantly transported back to Rajasthan. It wasn't quite up to the standards of the Chai-Wallah - for a start it was made with a powdered mix - but the heady scent of cardamom was so evocative I left the festival absolutely determined to make this again at home - and NOT forget about it this time!
So over the last week or so I've been brewing myself a mug of Chai most mornings. I doubt its authenticity, I feel sure that 'real' chai should have rather more ingredients, more spices, but I find it delicious and comforting. As I type this I have a vague recollection of adding a piece of fresh ginger to the pan when I made this in Brunei... I should try that again. We're currently using some lovely Ceylon tea, in leaf-form, given to me by a Sri Lankan pupil at my Brunei school, but it works equally well with a regular teabag.
Cardamom Chai Masala
In a small pan, put:
1/2 mug of milk
1/2 mug of water
1 teabag, or 1 teaspoon of tea-leaves
4 or 5 cardamom pods, crushed with the back of a spoon
sugar - to taste (I use 1/2 a teaspoon)
Heat gently until boiling, stirring or whisking regularly, then strain into your mug.
And what better accompaniment to this than a square of locally-made fudge, bought at the Chilli Festival. Perfect!