Friday, March 03, 2006

Ode to Chai - umm Joy!



chai2

Cup of Chai

I belong to the small percentage of people in the world that are "musically challenged" . I have absolutely no ear for music and can neither sing nor hum a tune. But if I had any musical talent at all, and if I could somehow magically compose music, my magnum opus would be "Ode to Chai". It would be a musical masterpiece extolling the virtues of my favorite drink - chai!

I love chai and drink a minimum of 2 cups a day. I could drink several more cups, but usually limit myself, unless it is a special occasion or a special day like a weekend or a weekday!

I follow the same routine every morning. I wake up, brush my teeth still half asleep, go downstairs and put on a pot of water for tea. I stand by the stove, savoring the morning calm and the radiant heat from the stove. There is something calming about this ritual of making a morning cup of chai. The canisters for tea leaves and sugar are at hand and I can measure and pour with my eyes closed. As the aroma of the tea wafts from the boiling pot, I add a pinch of cardamom. The satisfying wooshing sound of the tea boiling and rising up to touch the lip of the pot wakes me from my reverie and I pour out the 2 cups of steaming hot tea. As I sip the chai, I really start to wake up and start my day.

In the Indian culture, chai is much more than just a drink. Stories are shared, gossip is passed around, sorrows are drowned, advice is handed out and friendships are bonded - all over steaming hot cups of chai.

I like my chai strong, with a pinch of cardamom powder. How do you spice your chai?

- With apologies to Beethoven, whose "Ode to Joy" has been adopted as the European Union's nation anthem. Check out the full article here.

30 Comments:

At Fri Mar 03, 06:42:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Priya said...

I love it with cardamom too...but sometimes the weather/mood calls for a small peice of ginger to add punch to it..:-) .. I come from HYD the place for Irani Chai cafe's...Ohh..:-(...u remind me of the arome filled..and not to forget the memories it whiffs along..CHEERS to CHAI TEA :-) ...

 
At Fri Mar 03, 09:46:00 PM 2006, Blogger Kitchenmate said...

SH: Hmmm.. You made me remember my college days where we go to college canteen, hang around with masala tea and sambar vada :)
Hey i love those days :)I make Tea with dried/fresh ginger with powdered cardomom (sometime with a piece of squeezed clove), really Refreshing!
Ode to Chai!!!

 
At Sat Mar 04, 04:49:00 AM 2006, Anonymous aparna said...

hi this comment is not about chai. Your adai delicacy was excellent i tried and enjoyed...
thanks..

aparna

 
At Sat Mar 04, 10:00:00 AM 2006, Blogger KrishnaArjuna said...

SH, I am a big fan of teat myself. Either black or indian chai is fine with me. If I opt for black celestial seasonings has my kind of stuff. I usually spice my chai with cardomom but sometimes I go for either ginger or cinnamom.

 
At Sat Mar 04, 11:42:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

yes, of course ginger! ginger chai with cardamom - heaven. I think I'll make myself a cup now. I've never tried it with cinnamon. I have give that a shot as well.

 
At Sat Mar 04, 11:45:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

kitchenmate, Ahh college days! masala chai and munchies! sighhh, seems so long ago :-(

At home, on weekends we would have "Tea" in teacups and chai in little glass tumblers like the the canteens. My mom would love to ask us, "do you want tea or chai?"

 
At Sat Mar 04, 02:45:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

simply love your photographs, they are awesome:)
I also visited your son's blog and he has a good thing going there too...

take care
P

 
At Sat Mar 04, 06:58:00 PM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

aparna, glad you tried and liked the adai.

 
At Sat Mar 04, 08:38:00 PM 2006, Blogger sailu said...

Am a tea-o-holic!Love all varieties of tea...elachi and masala chai esp.Love your post,SH.

 
At Sat Mar 04, 08:57:00 PM 2006, Blogger Luv2cook said...

I like my chai with caradamom and little bit of ginger. I usually save the ginger peel that I cut off for my recipes in a tiny gladware container in the refrigerator and add the peel to the tea. That way I feel like I don't waste the peel and it gives so much flavor to the tea itself.

 
At Sun Mar 05, 08:25:00 PM 2006, Blogger Luv2cook said...

SH:

I hope you don't mind, but I listed to your chai recipe from my blog while I was blogging about chudwa.

 
At Mon Mar 06, 08:18:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

luv2cook, no problem at all! cheers!

 
At Mon Mar 06, 11:52:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Gini said...

I love tea too. I didnt drink tea till I was almost grown up..My parents usually made coffee at home. But now I adore tea,and agree that it is the best way to start the day..

 
At Mon Mar 06, 01:39:00 PM 2006, Blogger Sandhya said...

I'm a coffee person, but don't mind a swig of tea occasionally, especially the elaichi one. Nice post.
And girl, you got to post regularly. I'm hitting your site everyday and when i don't see something new i feel like a little girl cheated of her promised barbie doll. Hey, not pushing you though!

 
At Tue Mar 07, 07:10:00 AM 2006, Blogger Dumb Cook said...

Saffron Hut, I love your photographs.

Do you have special recipes for Dosai? Chai after having Dosai....hmmm..

 
At Tue Mar 07, 08:39:00 AM 2006, Blogger Santhi said...

U on a blogging brak SH??

 
At Fri Mar 10, 10:21:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Lakshmi said...

I just stumbled upon your site and Wow! Its great! It is a feast for the eyes.The pictures are awesome. Chai--Who doesnt like it?
BTW I wanted to ask you the ratio of water to milk that you use for your authentic tea..
Thanks and good luck!

Lakshmi

 
At Fri Mar 10, 10:21:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Lakshmi said...

I just stumbled upon your site and Wow! Its great! It is a feast for the eyes.The pictures are awesome. Chai--Who doesnt like it?
BTW I wanted to ask you the ratio of water to milk that you use for your authentic tea..
Thanks and good luck!

Lakshmi

 
At Thu Apr 20, 01:41:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Sangeeta said...

Hello Saffron Hut,
I love the way you write and also the lovely pictures. Beleive it or not I have bought 2 cameras since yesterday. But lets see if similar creativity can be reflected, if only owning easel paints brushes and canvas could create paintings :)

About chai, I normally make a spice mix, consisting of bayleaf, cardamom, cloves, pepper, ginger power, cinnamon and last but not the least Saffron strands.

I grind it all together and make a mix of it, use a pinch of it each time i make tea:) Heavenly!!

 
At Tue Oct 24, 09:18:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody know of any teapot here in US to make tea in it and sere it from there.

 
At Tue Nov 07, 02:18:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Bombay Bijlee said...

Hi Saffron

Loved your tribute (Ode to Chai) to my favourite drink. To me, chai brings back two distinct memories. First, it will always be a symbol of the peaceful mornings I spent with my parents when I lived at home. A cup of steaming chai with glucose biscuits...mmmmm...

The other memory is that of the 'Ek special cutting' variety on the streets of Mumbai.

I like my chai with whole cardamom.

And i absolutely protest against the staurbucks "Chai tea" which basically translates to 'tea tea'!

 
At Fri Feb 16, 03:44:00 AM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read »

 
At Mon Sep 10, 03:43:00 AM 2007, Anonymous Anonimous said...

Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!

 
At Mon Sep 24, 06:31:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Joy said...

What a lovely blog!

But reading this entry was like an epiphanic moment for me.
I'm a tea lover myself..and as I was browsing through the blog, came across this and of course, the child-like enthusiasm in me knew no bounds with Chai and Joy in the same sentence(I'm still a kid I guess)

My idea of a teaspoonful of happiness>> http://joylita.livejournal.com/45211.html

 
At Thu Nov 15, 05:04:00 PM 2007, Anonymous kalpi@yahoo.com said...

Good one. I usually grate some fresh ginger to water, boil it, add tea & sugar, bring to boil, add milk and just as it boils and comes up, I crush a clove and add a cardomom. It has a nice flavor and some kick to it!

 
At Mon Jan 12, 06:12:00 PM 2009, Anonymous G said...

Finally you are one like me!!!! musically challenged!!!

 
At Tue Feb 24, 06:33:00 AM 2009, Blogger Jaya said...

I love chai too... It's my total felix-felicis... I've written loads abt the chai habit on my blog as well. Love your blog here too. I use ginger in my tea or my Paati's chai masala. Rocks the world. Cheers, let's have tea :)

 
At Mon Feb 08, 06:06:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guter Beitrag, nur Absatz zwei muss ich widersprechen!

 
At Mon Feb 08, 12:57:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nur wenn man dran glaubt..

 
At Mon Feb 27, 08:18:00 AM 2012, Blogger anju said...

love your blog reminds me of home far away...from home!!
ginger tea my sweet old friend...

 

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