Chai

My sister Deepal and brother-in-law, Rorik, went to New York for Thanksgiving. They returned this morning and we had tea together at my parent’s house. Indian chai is made with half milk and half water. It is 100% better than Starbucks Chai which in my opinion is too sweet. The tea brand that my mom uses is Vaagh-Bakri; literal translation Tiger-Goat. It is one of the famous tea brands in India and can be easily found at Indian grocery stores everywhere. 
It was said that back in the day a new bride was judged by her skill at making tea in the new family. My chai doesn’t turn out as well as my mom’s or sister’s. Perhaps they let it boil a little longer so that the the flavors develop more. This morning, my sister gave my efforts a B+. I’ll settle for that. 
Deepal and Rorik in Times Square, NY

Chai – 4 cups.  

2 cups water
2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
2 tbsp loose black tea (use 2.5 tbsp for stronger taste)
1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp chai masala (use more in the winter time; easily found at Indian grocery stores also)
1 tbsp sugar

Boil water with ginger, tea, chai masala. Add milk and sugar. Bring to a boil again. Add mint leaves at this stage if available. Strain; add more sugar if desired, and drink. Cheers.

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, NC. She writes about everything from travel, food, books, and family. Her current project includes a series of children's books to teach Hindi. She is a native Tar Heel who has also lived in Washington DC and Chicago.

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