-chai-, or how not to detox

I once embarked on a grape fast when I ate nothing but grapes for ten days, don't ask me why as I can't for the life of me remember. I was living in Kathmandu at the time and the only grapes available were imported from Iran and were sold on street carts at over inflated prices ( at least to me ). They were also coated in a sticky tar like substance which I guess was the residue from their travels and which I wiped off devotedly, the grapes providing more than ample sustenance for this frankly surreal time.

In fact I lie if I say I lived off grapes alone. It was hard to resist ( ok, I didnt even try ) the sweet milky 'chiya' that was offered whenever one went a-visiting anywhere. 'Chiya' is the nepalese word for chai and is just as garam (hot) and just as mitho (delicious) as the indian version. A far cry from the bastardized starbucks fare and well worth the hassle of making yourself. Think of it not as a hassle, but a ritual and you may find you enjoy the preparation as much as I do.

If you happen to be avoiding dairy, you could use a substitute milk, if you happen to be avoiding caffeine, you could use red tea and if you happen to be avoiding sweeteners, I wouldn't bother, this is really to be drunk sweet, any sweetener will do.

Warning: don't drink it on a grape fast, this is no way to detox!


-for 2 people

2 cups of milk

10 cardamom pods

half a thumb of peeled, chopped ginger

10 black peppercorns

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 tsp loose leaf black tea

4 cloves


  Place tea in a saucepan and cover with 1/2 cup of boiling water. Crush cardamom pods and black pepper in a mortar and add along with all the ingredients, then turn on the heat low and allow to simmer for as long as you can wait. The longer the stronger. Strain & sweeten to taste

  Some people add the sugar while its cooking so it is more syrupy but I use honey so I'd rather not heat it.