Try as I might I just can't break the habit of my afternoon cup of Indian masala chai (tea). As soon as it hits 4 o clock, no matter where I am or what the weather I find myself craving that cup of hot, sweet spiciness! Something I shall definately be researching and writing more about in future posts, I just had to give it a sneak mention now as it's about that time I'm due for a cup!
Generally speaking, Indian chai is loose leaf black tea brewed with milk and water alongside a blend of spices (masala). The spice mix varies by region and taste but the most commonly used spices are cardamom (green and black), cinnamon, ginger, clove, black pepper and fennel. Unlike the classic English cup of tea, in India the leaves and masala are added to water and milk and allowed to boil and simmer for a few minutes before being strained and served in small glasses (similar to a clay shot glass) and drunk immediately.
Personally I like a combination of both the English and Indian tea rituals - brewed in a pan with masala the Indian way but served in a cup or mug and enjoyed sipping slowly whilst sneaking in a few minutes of afternoon telly and a biscuit! Off i go...! :)