My parents and their out laws have just spent two weeks inIndia, double dating as it were! The saddest thing? We weren't with them. In a stark role reversal we've poured through photos of sparkly markets, ageing houseboats and candlelit dinners for four while we, the children, stayed at home surviving dark December.
However, there were perks. December 25th was brimming with Indian bounty ranging from monkey wallhangings to green tea, fresh from the plantations. Though it was sheets of Indian newspaper, tied tightly with blue string that housed my spice treasure. Cinnamon sticks like I'd never seen; each as fat a stick of Brighton Rock but with an organic, sweet scent that had survived the long haul flight.
I made a pot Masala Chai tea in celebration of my hoard to remind me of the past trips and the relentless, clanging Chai Wallahs that parade the train carriages persuading one that tea is needed.
Masala Chai Tea
1 tbsp Loose leaf assam tea
4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated
2 sticks cinnamon
a few black peppercorns
5 pods of green Cardamom, bashed
2 whole star anise,
Brown sugar or honey to taste,
Bring 300ml water to boil. Add the assam
tea and boil for 5 minutes. Add the spices and gently simmer for about 12-15
minutes, add milk and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Sweeten with brown sugar or honey to taste.
Strain tea and serve hot.