Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Recycling

These are chai cups. Just prior to moving down to Florida, I was given one of these as a gift.
Since that time I have come back to Vancouver for a couple of visits and on one of those occasions I happened to come upon a store where they sold more of these such cups.
I wandered into a store on Main St. operated by an Indian family. I moved up and down along the aisles, not really looking for anything in particular when way in the back sitting on the bottom, corner shelf I found about 3 dozen or so of these cups.
A clerk came alongside of me and informed me that if I bought three I got one free. This seemed like a pretty good deal to me, so I selected four cups and then made my way up to the front of the store.

Sitting on a stool alongside of the counter was an older man who was all smiles when he saw what my purchase was. So delighted was he that he began to share with me a story.
In his village the people used such cups as these everyday said he.
It was in essence a very good system.
One business made the earthenware/ceramic cups,
store owners or families bought the cups,
chai was served in the cups then,
when you were finished drinking,
you threw the cups down smashing the crockery into pieces
and the whole process was repeated.
A business made the cups............
And so you see, said the man. "This is a very good economic way of recycling!"

My Chai recipe.
Garam Chai (Hot tea)

Place 5 Tetley tea (or any type of orange pekoe tea) into a medium sized saucepan.
Add along with the tea; 4-5 whole cardamom, 5 whole cloves & a 1" size piece of cinnamon stick.
Cover with water about two finger digits and placing on med-high heat, bring to a boil.
Keep and eye on it as not to boil away all the water.
Once brought to a boil, add 3 cups of whole milk. I have often used one tin of Carnation evaporated milk and topped it with 2% milk.
** I might add here that you certainly could use 1 % or skim since you might be concerned about calories however, using the lower fat milk is just like ordering a Tim Horton's iced cap made with skim instead of the usual cream and anyone that has tasted that..........knows the difference.**
Exactly! Chai with whole milk is my one indulgence. Having visited Pakistan, well let's just say that having chai made with "water buffalo milk" is even better.
Anyway, lower the heat to medium. Bring to a boil again but do watch and stir. IF you do not watch throughout this next step you are likely to have your milk bubble, froth and come up all over your stove top. Does that sound like it has happened before? Uhuh.
Once brought to a "simmer". Remove the tea bags and spices. Serve the hot milky tea offering your guests some sugar ( Martina) to sweeten their tea. Some places will have already made the addition of sugar which is quite generous. I prefer to let folks add their own level of sweetness.

Chai is comfort food to my soul. I think that there is nothing I enjoy better than a hot chai served up to me on a sunny yet chilly Autumn day.
I was spoiled though living in Vancouver. As I would often walk down Fraser Street, I would pop into our favorite Pakistani restaurant and tell Khalid, the owner, "I would just like a cup of chai please." And he would go make me a cup and never charge me. This was double heaven.

Thinking back on the conversation I suddenly recall that in India most believe in the act of reincarnation. This might goes as far as to include a whole new life for a lowly chai cup.
It is good to see that recycling reaches beyond North America.

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