We have chai running in our veins or certainly should have as it has been a family passion for generations.
Growing up in the Midlands within a close-knit British-Asian community, food was the focal point of every family gathering. Whether it was preparing freshly-made dal or sharing homemade samosas during social gatherings, or sipping on steaming cups of chai while watching the latest Bollywood blockbuster on the television, food was a vital part of our lives.
Chai, the Hindi word for tea, was an integral part of our culture. In India, street vendors known as chaiwalas sold sweet and spicy aromatic milky tea. My grandparents hailed from Kuranpur, a small village in the rural Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra state. During my childhood, my grandmother would tell me that the village was so remote that there were no roadside chaiwalas. Instead, families would gather around the dinner table to drink masala chai, a spiced version of the beverage made at home.
Although my grandparents are no longer with us, their legacy and the traditions of our family remain incredibly meaningful and influential in my life. Although I have not yet had the opportunity to visit Kuranpur, I am determined to keep my grandmother's memory alive by sharing the story of our family and continuing to prepare her beloved recipe for spiced Bombay chai. The connection between myself and our family's heritage feels as though it is bound by an invisible thread, tying us together across time and space.