Chai recipes

Give a man some chai and you cheer him up for a day. Teach him to make chai and you will cheer him up forever.


We at The Overseas Magazine love teaching friends in the US how to make chai, mostly because then they can make some for us whenever we visit them.

A few months ago we shared our chai recipe with a friend named Jared. A few weeks ago, he invited us over to taste one of his recipes. Jared is a great cook and is fearless about experimenting with spices. Here’s his fancy chai recipe for one cup:

1 tsp Orange pekoe tea + half cup whole milk + half cup water + a slice of ginger + a tsp of licorice + a pinch of black pepper + a cardamom pod + a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Of course Jared did not use those exact measurements for any of the ingredients. He brought it all to a boil, let it simmer for a minute and strained the chai into a cup. We were skeptical about the taste but the chai was absolutely delicious!The ingredients had already made it mildly sweet so we skipped the sugar.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.

– C.S. Lewis

20151212_110509There are many chai recipes serving different needs and cravings. We want to share a few of our favorites with you.

Basic chai recipe for two cups:

Bring about one cup of milk + one cup of water + two tsp of loose tea leaves to a boil. We prefer Orange Pekoe loose tea because of its amazing taste and flavor. When it rises, lower the heat or turn it off and let the chai simmer till the color changes to caramel brown. A darker color might mean that your chai is too strong and anything lighter might mean that your chai is not done. Strain it out, add sugar or honey and enjoy! 

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

– Dostoyevsky

Adding a few spices to chai is what makes it more exciting. 


Ginger (Hindi: Adrak):  If you’re using the root, use a tiny piece for that mild flavor. You can add it to the milk and water along with the tea leaves. If you are using powdered ginger, add a pinch of it. Ginger’s inflammatory properties make it ideal for fighting a cold or chest congestion. 

Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.

– Bill Watterson

Cardamom (Hindi: Elaichi): This is another delicious chai spice. It makes tea taste like dessert in a cup, especially if you like Indian desserts. You can use one whole pod for two cups of tea. The chemical composition of cardamon makes it perfect for easing stomach cramps, morning sickness, assist with digestion and soothing nerves.

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

– Henry James

Cinnamon (Hindi: Dalchini): Cinnamon added to chai makes it feel Christimassy and it is also known to make your house smell nice. So add a sprinkle to your tea everyday, like we do! Cinnamon is a great source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to lower blood sugar levels. 

As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There’s a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother’s pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, ‘In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes’.

– Aprilynne Pike, Illusions

Spiced rum: Spiced rum works very well with all chai recipes. Add the rum after you have strained the tea out into cups and you can determine the quantity.

If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
if you are depressed, it will cheer you;
if you are excited, it will calm you.”

– William Ewart Gladstone


Tea can help you sleep better and also help you feel more alert – it’s truly multi-purpose. Let us know if you tried any of these and The Overseas Magazine team would love to stop by for a cup!

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”

– Sydney Smith

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Our World: March 2017

March 2017 in a few countries around the world:

USA: Travel ban halted

The Justice Department has filed a notice to appeal a Hawaii-based federal judge’s ruling that indefinitely halted core portions of the President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Read more…

China: Trump and Xi meeting

President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet amid a range of pressing issues about trade, North Korea and the South China Sea. Read more…

UK: Westminster attacker

Westminster attacker Khalid Masood drove his car into pedestrians, killing three people, and fatally stabbing a police officer before being shot by the police. Read more…

India: Railway Network expansion

Giving strategic interests a further push, the Centre is exploring feasibility to connect India-China border district Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh with the railway network. Read more…

Israel: Settlement issues

Palestinians are resisting Israel’s settlement law by petitioning Israeli courts against a law that forces them to lease their lands to Israeli settlers. Read more…

Australia: Cyclone Debbie

Cyclone Debbie is causing serious concerns for areas prone to flooding. Residents in northern NSW have been ordered to evacuate. Read more…

Peru: GDP growth

Peru is expected to become Latin America’s top economy surpassing Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela. Read more…

Too cool to ignore

A futuristic skyscrapper would hover majestically above the ground because it would be attached to an actual asteroid, in space, that is forcibly put into orbit around the earth. Clouds Architecture Office has unveiled plans for a futuristic skyscrapper dubbed the “Analemma Tower”.  Read more…


Read more: Write for TOM


Flying to the US? Learn more about the latest electronics ban

Flying to the US with electronics just became a lot more inconvenient. Major airlines flying via countries in the Middle East and Africa will no longer allow electronics larger than a cellphone in a handbag. Passengers will be required to pack them with their checked luggage.

This step was taken by the US to avoid the risk of passenger planes being targeted by terrorist groups who might smuggle explosives in electronic devices.

Medical devices might be allowed on the plane after thorough screening.

Airlines impacted:

Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Preparing for flights to the US:

  1. Check with your airline to determine how the electronics ban will effect you and pack accordingly.
  2. If you have medical devices, let your airline know in advance so that they can be prepared to screen them and allow them on the plane with you.
  3. Estimate longer layovers because of additional screenings. Pack some dry and permissible snacks and perhaps some reading material to make long layovers less painful.
  4. Prepare to be searched thoroughly, exercise patience and cooperate with officials.
  5. If you absolutely must carry electronics in your handbag, book tickets with airline who are currently unaffected by the ban.


Did the ban effect you? Write to us:

Read more about the ban here.


In Shimla for two days

Shimla – with its majestic mountains and beauty is a popular tourist destination. The routes were closed in January 2017 because of heavy snowfall. So when we decided to visit it in February, we did not expect it to be packed with tourists since it was off season. We were still trying to pick a hotel a week before we had to travel and before we were ready to make our choice, all hotels around Shimla were sold out! Thanks to Valentines’ day!

We were left with just one hotel option – Shimla Havens – luxurious but outside the city. We booked it and kept our expectations low.

Getting to Shimla

To travel to Shimla, we picked a route with minimal road travel. We decided to fly to Chandigarh, spend an evening there and then rent a car to drive us to Shimla the next morning. The drive up the scenic mountains would be four hours long.

Tourists in Chandigarh

Chandigarh is a beautiful city – clean, planned and with friendly residents. We arrived at Chandigarh around 4 pm and sadly did not get a chance to visit the famous rock garden. We used uber cabs to get around and managed to visit Sukhna lake, which was beautiful! 

Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh

We also made time to visit the market to buy some sweaters. Chandigarh did not disappoint! We enjoyed the evening shopping and were able to find great deals. One thing that surprised us was the lack of chai-stands even at the market place. We did manage to find a few but it took a lot of asking around and surprised responses from shopkeepers. The chai that we found was milky and warmed us up on that cold evening.


We had planned to try some local lassi (a savoury yogurt drink) but were advised not to since it was still cold and lassi would most likely make us fall sick. Thanks to the uber driver for the advice!

Drive to Shimla

The drive to Shimla was scheduled to start at around 9 am the following morning. Our hosts at Chandigarh served an amazing breakfast and we were ready to be on our way. So grateful for families – near and distant! 🙂

We stopped at Pinjore garden on the way to Shimla. 

Pinjore gardens
Pinjore gardens

There were roadside vendors selling fresh fruits and we couldn’t help but stop to buy some oranges. We made it to Shimla around 1 pm and stopped for lunch at a dhaba. The himachal thali that we enjoyed was delicious and vegetarian. That was another thing we would need to get used to during our time there – more vegetarian options and less varieties of meat. But every dal and sabji was delicious!

Tourists in Shimla

The drive down the hill to our hotel was a little steep but Shimla Havens is luxurious with great staff and service. We enjoyed complimentary breakfast and dinner there, which were large buffet spreads. What we were most pleased with was their unlimited chai option along with meals. It’s possible that chai was not meant to be unlimited but we were not billed for any of our drinks. The rooms were comfortable and fitted with all modern amenities. They would turn wifi off during the night but that did not bother us much.

Shimla Havens


Caught a glimpse of the tandoor flames.

The views outside our windows were majestic. We were surrounded by mountains and the cold air was refreshing. Temperatures stayed between 3 – 14 degrees Celsius. 


We were warned about monkeys roaming around freely in Shimla and we saw many! Most of them populated areas where food vendors were set up. We managed to stay out of their way and they stayed away from us.

In Shimla, budget enough time to visit the Rashtrapati Niwas (Indian Institute of Advanced Studies). The history of the location is rich and the mountains that surround it are breathtaking. It’s a great location for photography. Photography inside the niwas is not permitted. 

Rashtrapati Niwas, Shimla
Rashtrapati Niwas, Shimla

Mall road is another place you need to make time for. It’s essentially a market street but it has other attractions as well. To go up to Mall Road, we had our car drop us at the entrance and we would take a lift to go up to the destination. Each lift ride cost Rs. 10 for each person.

Mall Road, Shimla

Mall road is filled with small and branded stores offering sweaters, wooden items and food.

A little walk upwards and you can visit Christ Church, which is the second oldest church in North India that’s still open for services. The church is located near the Ridge and was surrounded by snow-capped mountains. 


Our driver decided to drive us to a spot up the mountains that had options for adventure sports that we were not interested in trying with our parents. Since it was expensive to enter and we did not want to spend the afternoon there, we turned around and headed to Kufri instead.

Horse ride at Kufri

In Kufri we were encouraged to try their horse rides up the mountain. We were apprehensive at first but then decided to give it a try. The horses were small and very muddy. We picked the ‘cleanest’ horses and climbed on. The ride felt unsteady at first but soon we got used to the rhythm. The road led to a steep, muddy narrow path crowded with other horses and tourists. We stopped enjoying the scenery and began worrying about our safety. The horses were being pushed and pulled around and as feared, one of the horses got excited and started running haywire, thus jeopardizing the ride for everyone. The narrow path had no boundaries on the sides and the horses were tied together in pairs. If one horse fell down the hill, it would take several others down with it. We decided that the ride was more dangerous than exciting and asked to turn around to return to our starting point. We don’t recommend the ride to anyone unless other safety measures are established. 

We were also encouraged to visit the zoo next to the horse riding place. The zoo had four animals and some snow on the ground. It was not worth the time. We decided to head back to Shimla for the rest of the evening. 

Dry fruits and sweets from Himachal

The next morning we left Shimla Havens after a fantastic breakfast. We drove up and down the mountains and dozed most of the way. We stopped at a store (Haveli) to buy some dry fruits and sweets from Himachal and made it back to the airport in time to board our flight. Since the Chandigarh airport is small, we made it through security in a matter of minutes.

We made it back to Calcutta with new memories and some great photographs!

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Reentering the US under Trump Administration

My husband and I had planned a trip to India for February 2017. We had booked tickets before all of Trump’s immigration and travel ban revisions were announced. Being a green card holder, the doubts in my mind were pretty strong – would I be allowed to enter? Would I have to endure a painfully long screening process? How would I stay patient through it all? We were skeptical about the timing of the trip but since we had non-refundable tickets, we decided to go ahead and risk it. 

This is how things turned out.

Our flight from Kolkata to Atlanta had a brief layover in Doha. We booked this flight because of it’s the shortest travel route at a rate that’s affordable.

We made it to Doha smoothly and went through security check as we got off the plane. It was a standard check – remove shoes and laptop and walk through the metal detector. Since all passengers needed to go through the check, it took a while to get through it. But we made it through the checks and walked to our gate.

At the gate, there was a queue for additional security checks meeting US standards. My husband and I were selected for a random secondary check while we waited in line. Like most people, I was not excited about the check since it meant that we would have to unpack everything and get treated like villains.

When it was our turn, we first went through the usual remove-shoes-laptop-metal detector check. We were then asked to wait for a secondary screening.

At the secondary screening, a no-nonsense officer checked all the contents of my bags. I was asked to turn my laptop on and she brushed it with a detector. She inquired about other electronics that I had. She then proceeded to use the detector to brush my palms, folds of clothing and shoes. In the busyness of the moment, she misplaced my boarding pass. In fact, she even forgot that she had not returned it to me and asked me for it. I thought to myself, this is it – trouble begins. Thankfully she decided to look for it among her things and found it after a brief search. I was relieved to finally have it back.

My husband who is an US citizen had to go through the same checks.

We were found ‘clear’ and proceeded to board when another employee discovered that my husband’s boarding pass was not marked as ‘clear’. The agent who had conducted his secondary check escorted him for a third search of similar intensity and finally cleared us both for boarding.

On arriving in the US, the rest of the immigration process was similar to ones in the past – no additional hassles for citizens and green card holders. We submitted my immigration form and were asked to declare that we were not carrying any restricted items into the US.

In a way, the checks seemed to go smoother than ever. Perhaps it was because we were almost expecting to be subjected to lengthier processes and interviews. We proceeded to baggage claim to collect our luggage and walked out of the airport.

We are still monitoring news related to immigration and hope that the right decisions are made by the governing powers of USA.

Our World: February 2017

News highlights from around the world for February 2017.


President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal will look to increase defense and security spending by $54 billion and cut roughly the same amount from non-defense programs. Read more...


What to watch at India’s State Elections. Find out… 

India to release 39 Pakistan prisoners. Read more… 

North Korea:

Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, likely died within 20 minutes of being exposed to a nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia. Read more…


Abu Sayyaf beheads a German hostage as Philippine government wages a war against the violent extremist group. Read more…


Conservative Egypt elects its first female governor. Read more…


While Donald Trump flirts with Russia, Eastern Europe prepares to be betrayed again. Read more…


Syria’s main opposition group has urged Russia to put pressure on the government of President Bashar al-Assad to shore up faltering efforts to end the conflict. Read more…

News from around the world: 28 February 2017

Our World: January 2017

2017 has started with significant changes in our world. Here is what happened in a few countries around the world.

USA: Trump changes

Trump orders travel ban in to the US for seven Muslim-majority nations. Read more…

Other changes in the Trump era: taxes, climate and healthcare. Read more…

The world has mixed reactions to Trump until now. Read more…

Cartoon depiction of the implication of Trump’s orders. Read more…

Canada: Challenging times after Quebec city attack

Quebec city mosque shooting kills six people. Read more…

Mexico: Plans about the wall

Wall between US and Mexico still in discussion. Read more…

Europe: Brexit plans evolve

Brexit negotiations continue. Read more…

India: Demonetization woes

India is still recovering from the Prime Minister’s demonetization policy. With elections coming up, the Election Commission has appealed to the Reserve Bank of India to raise the daily withdrawal limit for election candidates. Read more…

China: Bonds gain more global traction

The Chinese mainland is home to the world’s second-largest stock market and the third-largest bond market…the inclusion of RMB bonds into global indexes will help raise the profile of the China market among investors. Read more…

Iraq: Retaliates America travel ban and more on Mosul

Reciprocal travel ban on Americans unless Trump revokes executive order. Read more…

Eastern Mosul was liberated from ISIS in January and locals are wary of religious observance after IS rule. Read more…

Africa: African Union

Chad’s Foreign Minister, Moussa Faki, is new AU Commission chairperson. Read more…

Australia: Talks with US about dual nationals over travel ban

If you are a dual citizen of one of those countries travelling to the US from outside those countries then the order does not apply to you. Read more…

News from around the world: 31 January 2017