Is it as common these days to believe you can soak up a moment simply because it’s there and available? Meaning, I used to (and still do) feel the simplest things are what make life sparkle with wonderfulness. My favorite memory, in fact, was when we’d dress our modest table or little front porch bench with a few conversational snacks and hot cups of chaya in mismatching mugs. We’d just sit together, floating in time, letting the view inspire what we’d say or not say.
But, as I grew with time, things would begin to take it away in such a way it seemed I had to constantly choose between maximums. Between filling my time with peaks of work or filling my moments with a numbing kind of rest. What I would eventually discover was a kind of peace that would come as I allowed myself to stop choosing and start letting each moment flow together in a beautiful unison.
How to Make Banana Chips (Ethakka Upperi)
- Mandoline Slicer
- Slotted Spoon
- Deep Skillet
- Unripe, Green Plantains, 6-8
- Coconut Oil, for frying
- Water, 1 cup
- Salt, 1 tbsp
- Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
Prep the plantains.
- The brighter the unripe plantain, the better the crisp of the chip. Cut the top and bottom tips of the plantains. Then, cut the plantain in half. Make a thin incision down the center of the peel. Be careful not to pierce through to the plantain. You want to cut just enough to be able to remove the peel. I like to slide my thumbs from the center of the incision and inch my way up and down the peel to get the peel off. Think about it like removing a jacket. Now set aside. In a cup, mix together the water, turmeric, sand salt. Set aside.
Slice the chips.
- In your deep skillet, heat up enough coconut oil so that it's about 2" deep. Keep the heat level on about medium high. Once the oil is hot, use a mandoline slicer on a medium thin setting. Slice the chips directly into the oil.Add about 1-2 tbsp of the turmeric salt water. It will bubble and fissure for a few seconds then subside.
Listen for the clink.
- Continue letting the chips cook for about 2-3 minutes. The key to knowing the chips are done is by hearing if they sounds "hard." What I mean by that is when you use a slotted spoon to move the chips, you can hear them clinking together which tells you they've cooked and hardened. Remove the chips onto a tray or bowl lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Let cool and then store in an airtight container.
How to make Chai/Chaya (Indian Tea)
- Stainless steel pot (ideally reserved exclusively for making tea to avoid other flavors)
- Ladled Spoon
- Tea Strainer
- Water, 1 cup
- Green Cardamom Pods, 5, smashed
- Peppercorns, 2-3, smashed
- Loose Black Tea Leaves, 4 tsp Wagh Bakri or Tata Chakra Gold are my favorite loose CTC teas; The Chai Box and One Stripe Chai Co make some wonderful blends with spices already in it!
- Milk, 1 1/4 cup I use 2% Lactaid milk; if using whole milk, you maybe want to reduce the amount added to about 1 cup; for dairy-free chaya, check out my dairy-free recipe
- Sugar, 2 tsp
Boil the tea.
- In a steel pot, bring the water, smashed cardamom, and smashed peppercorns to a boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes so the spices steep the water.Now add the loose black tea leaves. Let brew for about 2-3 minutes. Stir every 20-30 seconds to prevent the tea from sticking. Do not overboil the loose black tea leaves or it will taste bitter.
Boil the tea with milk.
- Now pour in the milk. Once the milk is poured in, stir every so often. Use a ladle spoon to pour and swirl the tea leaves in the pot.Bring the tea to such a rumbling boil that it foams up nearly to the top of your pot. Just as it reaches the very top of the pot, turn the heat to medium low and let the tea rumble for another 20-30 seconds to deepen the flavor of the milk and tea.
Strain and cool.
- Strain the tea into a large, thin-rimmed mug. Pour the mug of tea from a low to high height into your drinking cup to create a frothy top and cool down your tea. Done!