We are strolling along narrow, dusty street in the town of Bundi, a small town of Rajasthan. We are passing over-colored handicraft stalls, beautiful ladies in embellished saris, children in alarmingly prankish mood and slightly bored cows.
– Come in, come in, the best masala chai in India! – we hear suddenly and see smiling man, sitting on a dais.
Why not to try? We come inside. The French couple with the guide is already in.
– You will see, it’s worth to wait! – he said to his people.
Yes, it’s worth to wait for all the good things, we know. And we know, the locals always know better, what is good in the area.
Meanwhile the man on the dais pops some tea into boiling milk. After that he takes a stick of cinnamon and start smashing it with the stone. He doesn’t need a mortar, not to mention all these shiny electrical devices. Just sits on the dais with a pot full of milk, a stone, and a few pinches of tea, sugar and spices on a tray. And I almost forgot – with a beautiful, honest, broad smile.
For a second Mr Krishna, this is his name, leaves his work, looks at us, makes thumbs up: Everything OK? And we make thumbs up: Everything OK!
The strong smell of boiling spices gives us a hint, it’s would be really worth to wait. More people are coming in. Sitting altogether in the small space we start chatting, laughing, exchanging travelling experiences. In Mr Krishna’s tea shop we all feel easy, relaxed, talkative.
And then masala chai in glasses comes. And only the slurps are heard.
Masala chai recipe:
Masala chai is the most popular hot drink in India. If you ask for a tea, not precising what king of tea, you can be sure masala chai will come. There is no fixed recipe for masala chai and every family has it’s own version of this drink.
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cardamon pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cm ginger
- 10 black peppercorns
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons black tea
Grate the ginger and crush the spices into a powder. Bring the water to boil. Add the ginger, tea leaves and spices. Boil for a minute. Add the milk and again bring to boil. At the end add sugar. Strain it into teacups.