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June 1st, 2013

What is cutting chai?

India never ceases to amaze me.

Or perhaps, rephrasing that somewhat, life never ceases to amaze me.

30+ years of knowing India and I never knew there was a name for those ubiquitous little glasses of sweet, milky chai.

It took breakfast in an elegant south Delhi 5 star hotel to teach me what “cutting chai” is all about.

Here is the hotel version, which is way smarter and more colourful than the on-the-street version :

IMG_6138

Now, yes, the inevitable question.  Why “cutting chai”?

Chai is the Hindi word for tea.  And cutting is the English word for –  well-  exactly that.  Cutting.  My breakfast companions told me that cutting refers to the smaller portion in the glass as opposed to a cup or a mug, and that it originated in Bombay.

I believed them, but I googled it all the same, and they were pretty spot on.

Of all the online explanations I liked the one from the deliciously named Samosapedia the best.

 

Once more with feeling…cutting chai, served here in fab coloured glasses whereas on the street you would get clear, probably greasy, smeary glasses.  And as for that lovely tea-pot…

IMG_6139 1

 

5 comments to What is cutting chai?

  • Mrinall

    Cutting Chai has its roots in Mumbai. In fact that’s what you will get if you just ask for a ‘cutting’.

  • christine

    Thanks. One lives and learns !

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  • Christine, hi!

    I have spent the last half hour browsing through your posts, and I must say they were fun and entertaining.

    Keep them coming!

    sharon

  • christine

    Thanks so much, Sharon !

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