camels & masala chai

January 22, 2012

this is romeo and he’s the camel i rode in on.

not to nyc sillies! no, i went to the pushkar camel fair back in november, not because i was in the market for a camel mind you. i just happened to be in the neighborhood and thought i’d stop by and see the goings-ons of a camel fair.

there were, of course, lots of camel-y things going on. camels everywhere!

india’s camels are dromedary camels, meaning they have one hump, not two. they are docile, hardworking creatures, and call me crazy, but i think they’re cute.

this guy is particularly charming, no?

i know what you’re thinking. no, camels do not spit at people. it’s a myth. they do however have toes (you thought i was going to go here, didn’t you? nope. that would just be wrong).

er, skilled as i am, i’m not exactly sure how to make this jump so… let’s just move on to the recipe shall we? i’m roarin’ about a little bit of india brought back home. making chai has become an easy ritual for me, it’s the perfect warmer on a cold winter day, one sip and i’m right back on the sub-continent.

real chai is oceans away from that overly sweet boxed or chain-store bought ‘chai’. there are many variations, in fact the words masala chai mean simply, spiced tea. this combo is my favorite.

Comments Closed

  • Tug's Girl says:

    I love masala chai and this sounds like the perfect thing for the chilly, grey day it’s turning out to be. Thanks!

  • Lauren says:

    Since you’re in NYC it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find panela, the unrefined cane sugar from Latin America that is the same thing as jaggery!

    I discovered panela after making myself sick gorging on AMAZING slow cooked yams in panela (at a flea market in East Oakland) about 8 years ago and I HAD to know what made the yams taste so different.

    These is a sour orange marmalade recipe that uses panela in the Blue Chair cookbook that I hope to be able to get to this year. Thanks for the pics of your trip and a great blog!

    Deleted the first version due to a tragic spelling error.

    • tigress says:

      hi lauren! i have not heard of panela but it sounds delicious – and oh, those slow cooked yams! one can find jaggery around nyc also. the best place is in jackson heights at the large indian grocer there. and i admit i do buy it. but it’s also nice to use a local product when i can.

      thanks for the compliment on my blog and photos. and i love your last line there. ;)

  • caroline says:

    your india pictures are beautiful- all those vibrant colors! I had been using a dried coconut chai mix from Zhena’s Gypsy Tea and mixing it with almond milk and maple syrup, which was really good, but making it from scratch is always infinitely more exciting.

    (that one picture of the light blue wall with ganesh? that red/orange color is so great… they should sell that paint at Home Depot so I could put it all over the place. it reminds me of that mediterranean blue that’s so bright it practically glows).

    • tigress says:

      thank you caroline – glad you enjoyed the photos. the colors of india are gorgeous, it’s true. and wow, you just reminded me of that gorgeous med blue too.

      do try to make your own chai – it’s worth it!

  • meg - grow and resist says:

    Gorgeous pics. I can’t wait to try it- I’ve only had chai once made my someone (other than the boxed stuff at coffee shops) and it was so amazing and tasted nothing like what I had tried before.

  • Annie says:

    Do you grind up your spices at all? I’ve had good and bad results grinding them up…

    • tigress says:

      i put them in whole. i don’t care for the ground spice version. i like the spices to be infused in the tea. although now in india many places do grind their spices, and have stopped doing it in the traditional way.

  • Dea-chan says:

    What about that mexican solid sugar thing — panela? I think it’s close to jaggery. It’s sold in cones — you might find that if you can’t find jaggery.

    • tigress says:

      lauren mentioned it above also. i have never seen the mexican version of unrefined palm sugar – sounds delicious! i can and do get jaggery here in nyc, but i offer maple sugar or syrup as a local substitute – which is quite similar in flavor. thanks dea-chan!

  • commercial roofing says:

    Hey, if I am not wrong Pushkar is in Rajasthan, am I right? Anyways, the camel pics are really cool and the ‘MASALA CHAI’ is one of my favorite drinks.

  • Dea-chan says:

    Mmm, I’ve been making large pots of chai thanks to your encouragement… and I have to say, my new fave way to make it involves vanilla almond milk. I had a half gallon in the fridge, so have been using it up, and even my fiance will eat it, even though he doesn’t like milky things. It adds just a subtle nuttiness. :-P

  • Maid Mirawyn says:

    Oh, how I love masala chai, or “masala tea” as all the English-speakers called it in India. And you’re right; good chai is nothing like what you get at a coffee shop or from the “just add water” mixes.

    I learned to make it from a recipe in a spice book way back in 1998 or so. And I loved my chai . . . until I went to India in 2011 with a nonprofit. When I came home, I discovered that two weeks was indeed enough time to get addicted to twice-daily cups of really good masala tea!

    Needless to say, I totally reworked my recipe when I got home! Now I make mine with ground spices, like women do in India (using “tea masala,” often home-mixed but sometimes bought). I mix up a couple of weeks worth at a time, and buy small quantities of ground spices from the bulk bin at the local natural foods stores so it’s always fresh (though I do grate the nutmeg myself). As a bonus, it’s also cheaper than jars of spices!

    Love, love, love it!

    • tigress says:

      yes i agree, there’s nothing like a home brewed masala chai. so happy you got a chance to visit india! :)

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