Monday, August 1, 2011

Hindi Word Highlight: Chai (चाय)

Translation: tea
Pronunciation: I don't think I'm very good at this phonetics thing.

Chai is the generic word for tea in Hindi; to say "chai tea" is actually redundant. When you order chai in the U.S., what you're drinking is masala chai (or some fake syrupy equivalent - I'm looking at you, Starbucks). "Masala chai" basically means "spiced tea."

Usually served in glasses like the one in the photo above, masala chai in India is often sold from little stalls on the street. I haven't had much time to venture out to areas where it's sold, but I've decided this is one type of food I'm willing to try on the street. The milk and water are boiled so...low risk, right? We'll see. In the meantime, I've been enjoying my chai at restaurants and at home.

If you want real masala chai in the U.S., I'd recommend avoiding the American brands at all cost and instead finding an Indian store. Fantasy Chai kept me going through grad school. Or you can make your own! There are a lot of recipes out there, but I like my masala chai with fresh ginger and cardamom. 


  1. mmm i love masala chai - its so easy to make! i like to make up a big pot and keep in the the fridge to have other the next few days - delicious. the store bought ones are just never the same...

  2. Thanks for that grocery link--so great!! xo