Intensely aromatic, sweet, complex, spicy, beguiling, heady – these all describe cardamom, a spice that appears throughout classical Indian Cuisine in everything from garam masala to a masala chai.   I’m sipping my cup of chai as I reread a favorite book.

It’s hot and dusty in Chandrapore.  I’ve spent the morning in the Marabar Caves.  Lingering in the cool darkness.  Reluctant to battle the scorching sun.

I’ve escaped the gray skies and rain of this West Coast.  I am deep into E.M. Forester’s novel A Passage To India.  Of course I am drinking chai.

If you find typical coffeehouse chai over-powering, try this version of the well-known Indian spiced tea.   This judicious use of spices results in a kinder, gentle cuppa.  Perfect anytime especially if you nibble a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie along with your chai

MARSALA CHAI … yields 3  or4 cups; serves four.

1 tablespoon loose black tea, such as English Breakfast or Darjeeling

6 green cardamom pods, gently crushed

5 cloves

1 small cinnamon stick (about 1 1/2 inches long)

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

3/4 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar; more to taste

In a small saucepan, bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the tea, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns.  Let steep uncovered for 4 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Pour through a fine strainer set over a bowl, rinse the saucepan, and pour the tea back into the pan.  Add the milk and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add more sugar to taste.  Reheat if necessary over low, but do not boil.  Serve hot.

I’ve almost finished my book, but a second one deliciously awaits me.  E.M. Forester’s  A ROOM WITH A VIEW.  It would appear that Italy also awaits me.

To really indulge make the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The recipe is on my food blog MRS BUTTERFINGERS.



  1. So happy to have another recipe for Chai, Virginia! We brought back a bag from India (along with some Darjeeling) but we have yet to brew it. Perhaps we can warm up our chilly weekend by doing so.

    Enjoy the rest of your passage through India. 🙂

  2. I love chai lattes, but I’m not sure if they’re similar to your recipe. And your cookies sound too good! Cookies are my favorite and baking is a favorite past time. Enjoy the rest of your book and relax! Lauren 🙂

    • I have a feeling there are many recipes for chai. This is particularly subtle and pleasing. When you whip it up you feel so exotic. Thanks Lauren. I am an avid reader and have kicked back and curled up by the fireplace. Vancouver is rainy and cold today.

  3. Pingback: Le Premier Samedi d’Hiver « Coup de Foudre

  4. So much beauty and knowledge in these your words . you know , You are a true connoisseur, I have to admit that I enjoyed reading your post , in the same way as I tried . Thank you very much for this wonderful post.

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