The first priority at The Henna Den HQ is always a fresh pot of masala chai. Rich with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and clove, it’s the way we start our mornings. For the fundamental part of our day, the time we get our thoughts together and make plans, a masala chai is what’s in order.

12470003_10156394851755331_371988575_oSam, our honourary resident ‘chai-wallah’, has the job of fixing up the ultimate pick-me-up, put-a-smile-on-our-face cup of gorgeousness.

In fact it’s not just the taste of chai we love; it’s the scent of the magical marriage of spices that wafts through every room. It’s the aroma we breathe deep that grounds us and reminds us of home. There are scents that transport you into a whole different place, exotic locations, memories of where we have been and hopes of where we will go. Then there are scents that contently say - all is well. This is that type.

So for the times you can’t brew a cup, we bring you our Bombay Chai incense sticks; with notes of spicy clove, ginger and peppercorn to fill your home with a smooth, sweet and warming aroma, to just about tide you over until your next perfect cup. You can get your hands on some incense sticks here.

Incense aside, for the real deal, here is our not-so-secret Indian chai recipe. Everyone likes it a certain way so feel free to tweak, this is just the way we like it.

RECIPE

Serves 2

1 ½ cups water

1 cup whole milk

2 everyday teabags

1 tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)

½ cinnamon stick

2 cloves

5 cardamom pods (crack pods open for ultimate flavour)

1 tsp grated ginger (½ tsp ginger powder if you haven’t got fresh)

twist of black pepper

4 tsp sugar/ to taste

Add water and all the spices minus the teabags into a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add 2 teabags. Any unperfumed every day tea is fine.

Pour in the cup of milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for another 5 minutes. If you prefer, almond milk makes for a nice alternative, although it won’t taste as authentic and perhaps don’t simmer it as long.

Strain and serve hot.

 

Bombay chai, whether it's a cup or an incense stick - enjoy!

The Henna Den girls xx