Chai for two please!

| May 7, 2009

Born in exile in India, I had the opportunity to embrace my Tibetan food heritage (which at times was challenging as most Tibetan recipes are meat based hearty soup to weather the cold climate of Tibet and not for a vegetarian like me living in sub-tropical India) and India’s diverse and rich cuisine. As I raise my children in Canada, I would like them to embrace and appreciate food not only as nourishment but also to savour it as childhood memory and an insight to culture. That is why I love festivals and celebrations –yam, okra and green beans- take a different meaning as I tell my 3 1/2 year old about Kwaanza.

When my daughter turned 2 years old, my older sister advised me to create memories. Yeah, yeah, yeah-you know, how older siblings always think they know more. But it was invaluable advice. My childhood memories revolve around food and family. My favourite memory is having chai in the evening at around 4PM. My father would be at work, my amala (mother in Tibetan) would make chai and serve cookies for me and my siblings as we sat on our veranda. It was simple but I cherish those days. These difficult economic times, provide us all with the opportunity to explore creating childhood memories within our home.

Today, I continue the tradition. I am on maternity leave and enjoy having chai with my daughter at 4PM – it is our own little tea party every day. Yes, some may yell tea and children – NO WAY! The website below has great information about children and tea.

Zomppa’s Chai

My Chai recipe (for two)
Chai means tea in Urdu. The story of tea began 5000 years ago, this delicious and medicinal (depending on what you drink) drink’s popularity grew with trade and sadly wars. Chai is sold everywhere in India; the best you find are sold by street vendors, dhabas and in train stations. It is brewed fresh and often served hot in ceramic cups or clear glasses.



  • ½ Teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of cardamom seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of loose Darjeeling Tea leaves or any other
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of milk (soy milk is good too)
  • Cane sugar/honey your choice


Put the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg in a cheese cloth and tie it (you can also use a meshed tea infuser ball). Put the mixture in the water and let it boil. Add the tea leaves and let it simmer for 5 minutes (you do not want to boil once the tea leaves are added as it can become bitter). Remove the chai mixture and strain the chai into a glass; add warm milk and sugar or honey.

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Category: Beverages, Featured Articles: Travel & Culture, Recipe Vault, South/Southeast Asia, Travel & Culture

About the Author (Author Profile)

Our Tsering is not even fully aware of her true inner strength. Born and raised in exile, she is one of the most grounded and gracious individuals. She will tell you like it is if it is in your own best interest and will drop everything to come to your aid if you need it.

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