Moments of proffered praise ebb and flow in a career. When they validate a dream, a new or second career, or a vision that you’ve been naively following, these moments bring a reality with it. The thought that I am really doing the right thing. I am following my heart, my passion.
Two events happened in the last few days. First, I taught a small private class again this week. The feelings and love it evoked from my students brought my passion to life, as do many of my classes. I received praise on social media for my efforts. I received lauds from the students the night of the class. The praise is not what I’m going after. It’s the feeling that comes after the praise. The sense that I am making a difference. The students’ vocalization of what was passed on to them. I’ve brought enjoyment to one’s life, for a little small part of their life, one evening. I’ve taught a part of my culture, my history, my background, to the people in this country that are hungry to know it and to learn it.
The second thing that I did was watch the food film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, a film about the 85 year old esteemed Michelin-rated Japanese sushi chef, who cooks with immense passion, fervently adhering to a principle of always striving for better, even after decades of experience.
I couldn’t help but think of myself and my passion while watching the movie. I am ALWAYS feeling like the recipe is just not “good enough”. It’s hardly ever perfect, for me. I want to work at my craft. I want to always make it better. The film reminded me that it’s OK to want to be that way. No one expects me to be perfect already.
And so because of these emotions that have surfaced, I want to thank you for reading. I thank you for taking time to learn, if you are a former “student”. I thank you for allowing me to perfect my task, continue working at my passion, and giving me the flexibility to do so.
I give you here a little recipe, one that the students last week asked me to write down. I also have an authentic chai recipe, one with freshly ground chai masala, but this one is a quick and easy shortcut chai– one that was prepared by the hostess of the class. She followed my original recipe with some of my recommended substitutions, and the recipe is written exactly as it was prepared. Enjoy this cool, refreshing beverage in this warm spring we are having!
Quick and Easy Iced Masala Chai
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
4 cups water
4 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
4 Irish Breakfast tea bags
1 teaspoon store-bought chai masala (we used the Nirav brand, one of the few that only has spices listed in
2 cups cold unsweetened plain almond milk
cinnamon sticks (optional)
1) Begin heating the water in a small saucepan. When almost boiling, add the sugar and chai masala. Stir well to dissolve.
2) Add the teabags, and reduce heat to low to steep the tea and simmer the spices, for about 8-10 minutes.
3) Remove from heat and remove the tea bags. Stir the tea in the pot to blend well.
4) Pour the masala chai over ice in 4 tall glasses to about 2/3 full.
5) Stir in ½ cup milk into each glass.
6) Accent with a 2-3 inch cinnamon stick, if desired.
7) Serve with additional sugar on the side for those that like it truly Indian sweet!
This “shortcut” recipe doesn’t use traditional loose Assamese tea leaves that one can find in an Indian store. PG Tips and Brook Bond Red Label are common brands, but there are many more. If you want to use loose leaf tea, use about 2-3 teaspoons as a replacement for the teabags. You’ll need a sieve when straining the tea that way. Typically when Indians make tea this traditional way, the (cow or buffalo) milk is boiled along with the steeped tea and it’s all strained together, resulting in a hot, sweet, creamy cup of tea.
© Shefaly Ravula/ Shef’s Kitchen