Nearly ten years have passed since I traveled to India once by myself and another time with my Australian friend, Sharon and I can still remember savoring the chai tea there. There is something about tea infused with spices and rich, creamy milk that makes it such a soothing drink. Preparing it back here at home doesn't quite compare. Obviously the energy of a place contributes to the experience. The excitement that comes with traveling and seeing new cultures, meeting new people, and eating delicious food definitely heightens one's senses. India is a magical place and leaves you in a daze of sensory overload. I can't wait to return one day with Marcelo. I vividly remember the decadent chai tea at the Osho International Meditation Resort. The resort was one of the many highlights of my trip.
Osho International Meditation Resort
This beautiful meditation resort is situated in Pune, which is approximately 220km (137 miles) southeast of Mumbai. It is a stunningly peaceful and lush oasis in a city that has a population of nearly 5 million people. I knew little about the center before going and, of course, family and friends warned me about potential "brainwashing". Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Aside from the grounds being incredibly beautiful, the atmosphere was serene and safe a nurturing environment where you could focus on yourself. You could partake in as many or as few meditations, classes, therapies, and activities as you cared to. There wasn't ever any pressure from anyone to do anything. It was your prerogative if you wanted to swim in the Olympic-sized pool the whole time you were there. Doing your own thing was appealing to me.
I, personally, took advantage of the various meditations, divine massages, and interesting classes and all were very special. My favorite meditation in Buddha Hall was Nadabrahma. In between meditations and activities, you could replenish yourself by eating at the various restaurants and cafes on the premises. Most of the produce is organic and grown by the commune itself. You could tell that care was given to the food because it was always exceptionally tasty and interesting. Being that the commune attracts visitors from around the world, a wide range of flavors and cuisines are available.
Chai often becomes part of our morning ritual at our house. So I thought why not make this decadent drink into yet another decadent dessert. Infusion plays a powerful role in ice cream making and you can easily come up with exciting flavors by following a few simple steps.
Using the Basic French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe, substitute the vanilla bean with the following infusion:
Chai Tea Infusion Ingredients:
|8 tsp.||Red Label Tea|
|1||cinnamon stick, broken|
|1 tsp.||cardamom seeds|
|1/4 tsp.||freshly grated nutmeg|
|3||whole star anise|
|1/2 tsp.||masala chai|
1. Bring the milk, cream, and infusion ingredients (tea through masala chai) to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator for more intensity.
2. Strain and press against the solids to extract all of the dairy mixture. Re-measure the strained liquid. Items such as coffee beans, nuts, tea, etc., can
absorb a lot of liquid and will alter your formula. Top up the mixture with milk to make 500ml. As you can see below, the tea absorbed quite a bit of the liquid (nearly 17oz. is needed to equal 500ml).
3. Bring the infusion to a boil again and proceed with the Ice Cream Recipe as directed.
I dug up some pictures from my trip. Here I am at the Taj Mahal in 1998. Moments after this picture was taken, the sky grew completely dark and a massive rain storm hit. Sharon and I got soaking wet.