As kids, my sister and I would be prepped for Ramadan way in advance.
My parents, simple and true to their faith would dress us up in the traditional jhablu ijaar (a simply embellished salwar kameez) with a cap that sit atop your head.
We’d follow mum into the mosque, staying close, not to get lost in the throngs of followers ready to offer prayers in unanimity and get a morsel into their bellies. We’d sit on either sides of mum (together we’d create a ruckus) and wait for the first faraz (first part of namaz) to end. Like clockwork, steaming trays of chai (a sweet tea with the right touch of milkiness) along with local cookies would be served by the ladies of the jamaat, God’s very own workers. Our mouths salivating, ready to dive into that first bite of a cookie, dipped in chai, reaching our mouths just before it melts into oblivion. My favorite memory would be that taste, that relief from hunger, that single moment of bliss where the sounds of the Maulana would drown into a sweet prayer of gratitude. I’ve made many attempts to cook that chai, recreate that flavor but all efforts have been in vain. Some say it’s egg yolk, some say it’s packets of Parle-G (the truest sweetest Indian biscuit) that makes this chai unique. I think it’s just sheer faith.
1 cup water
1/2 cup cow’s milk
1 tablespoon black tea leaves
A handful of mint leaves
1/4 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 pod of cardamom
Sugar / Jaggery powder
In a saucepan boil water with the tea leaves, mint leaves, grated ginger and crushed pod of cardamom.
Once it comes to a boil, reduce the flame and add milk. Give it a stir and bring it to another boil.
Lower the flame and stir for a few seconds. Let the tea cook till the aroma fills the room.
Pour into a cup and add sugar / jaggery powder or any sweetener of your choice.