Tag Archives: chai masala

Warming up and cooling off on the streets of India…

19 Apr

After visiting India the last time in April, we swore never again to visit when the weather has started to warm up. This time around we visited India from end of February to mid-March and it was super fun weather-wise because we had a whole range of temperatures in the different cities we visited.

In Allahabad, just like in a desert, it was chilly in the mornings and evenings and warm during the day… chilly enough to wear fleece!!! But in the south of India, the weather was warm and tropical, just like being in Puerto Rico. We even got to take paddle boarding lessons from some new Hawaiian friends , Tim and Kenny,  in our hotel pool!!!

Weather Collage

With all these weather changes, sometimes we had to warm up ourselves from the inside out… and sometimes we had to cool ourselves down the best way we know how…

To warm up… what better way than chai masala!!! I’ve already shared mu love for chai masala. Ever since I tasted it for the first time in Varanasi, I’ve been a true fan. I was fascinated with how in every stop, every city, and every back alley we visited someone was making chai masala for people to buy. And according to Tim and Kenny, who became somewhat of connoisseurs in chai masala tasting, the best chai’s come from the streets!!!! And in my experience… also the best chai masala’s are served in clay cups – the ones you use once and break after drinking your serving… I wish I had more pictures of all the times we had chai on this trip.

Chai Masala Collage


To cool off… we drank lots of coconut water right from the coconut itself!! Just like we do in Puerto Rico!! Some coconuts were sweeter than others, but it is way better to drink coconut water than any other packaged juice. It’s like nature’s Gatorade. We drank these coconuts while in Rameshwaram, almost at the tipy-tip of India, right in front of Sri Lanka. The perfect treat after visiting temples…

Agua de Coco India 5


Down in Pondicherry, the heat felt like the middle of summer in the Caribbean!!! Sweat was rolling down our backs… if you know what I mean. The best way to cool off the “Indian way” is enjoying a cool, delicious kulfi. I had the chance to taste kulfi once while in Varanasi, but I did not know the name then. Kulfi is a milk-based frozen dessert usually flavored with saffron, cardamom and pistachios. They sell them in ice cream stands and it’s the perfect treat when you need something cold and creamy. My friend Fabiola was fascinated with kulfi… I think we have another convert here!!!!

Kulfi Collage

I searched the internet and I found a few kulfi recipes… here is one I will be trying to make real soon. Hope you like it too!!!

What’s your favorite way to warm-up or cool-down? Any other ideas?

Incredible India… Chai Masala Tea

14 Nov

This is something I learned in this past trip to India…

Every time you visit a store or for breakfast you get offered tea.  And the tea they refer to is chai masala tea.  This is a tea made already with milk and seasoned with some kind of sugar/sweetener and a blend of spices or masala.

Chai masala 1

The masala blend for the tea is usually a spice mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, ginger and sometimes even peppercorns.

Masala Blend

I am not the tea drinker; Annie Mariel is the tea drinker here.  And the teas I usually drink are mostly herbal (chamomile, spearmint, linden, lemongrass, etc.) to avoid the caffeine in most teas.  But I was intrigued by this chai masala I was being offered all the time.

I loved it… it is traditionally served in these clay cups.  Not to worry, the cups are disposable and used only once.  Even when you get seconds, the cups are never reused.  I was told the cup itself gave some flavor to the tea and that even a second pouring would not taste the same as the first one.  And when I had tea in a paper cup or in a regular china cup, it did not taste the same as that original clay cup.

Drinking Chai      Chai @ Train

The one-time clay cups are also the preferred way to drink lassi, I later learned.  I believe these disposable clay cups are partly the reason why there’s so much dirt flying in the air all the time… Imagine all these clay cups being thrown into the curbside, they get pulverized, the dirt then flies all over the place… you can imagine the picture.

But my love affair with this tea was short-lived…  I wondered why I had not been offered this tea during my first trip if it’s so popular everywhere in India.  The reason??  It has caffeine, and in the line of vegetarianism I practice, we avoid caffeine as it is a stimulant that is not beneficial to a healthy nervous system.

But it is sooooooo good, I am on a mission now to recreate this delicious chai masala tea in a decaffeinated version.   Just stay tuned…  OK?

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