Having been in India for over a week now, I can assuredly say that I have developed a habit for afternoon chai. There is something respectable about this common daily ritual that is enjoyed by all demographics....a sophistication in simplicity.
From a practical sense, it helps to bridge the hunger gap between lunch and the late dinners that are typical here. Cookies or sweet crackers may be an accompaniment. It is also a social time to share a cup and a chat.
Fresh spice aromas and the warm, slightly caffeinated pick-me-up are especially comforting on days like today, which we spent tromping around in the heavy snowfall in Shimla.
Chai literally translates as "tea", so saying "chai tea" (like we do in the States) is redundant. The recipes for chai vary by region, by household and by cook. Here is Lalu's version that he kindly prepares for us every afternoon:
Since chai is boiled, it is a safe way to hydrate for Americans with sensitive GI tracts. We have enjoyed chai in rural villages, at the Golden Temple, at road-side dhabas and in the coziness of our Shimla home. It has been an enjoyable experience every single cup. Namaste.
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