Thursday, June 23


Chai, India's beverage of choice, is a milk tea they serve with two spoonfuls of sugar per cup, whether you like it or not. It is made from goat, cow, camel, yak or buffalo milk mixed with a combination of two of more spices. Surprisingly, my best cup to date was served by someone known in Setrawa as the 'angry lady' and consisted of buffalo milk. 

There is a complicated and cozy (gezellig for all you dutchies) culture around chai in India. Any visit to a home, no matter how brief and how hot, includes chai. Any purchase over a couple hundred rupees is followed by chai. Any visitor to our school is served chai (bought at the chai shop and carried over in a plastic bag). And every bus stop, train station, street corner or other place of loitering has chai available from a shop, stand or one man with a big pot.

The real art of street side chai is crafting up a cup or bowl as chai comes in a bag or soft plastic shot glasses, which the steaming hot beverage threatens to melt or at least burn you as you hold it. Traditionally, it is drunken in small mugs, disposable clay cups, or, as in my Indian home, tin bowls (ideal for fast cooling). Jen and I made a 10rs investment (22 cents) on two chai cups. They are metal and have handles which has greatly enhanced our chai drinking experience.

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