Tag Archives: chai

Tea time

 

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend! I had one of those weekends where I wanted drinks. And not just alcoholic! It started with chai. I’ve made chai before and I even have a recipe here on the blog about it, but I always try to find a way to make it differently.

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There are so many varieties of chai! But the one common ingredient with all of them is cardamom. It’s an incredibly smokey, warm spice that comes in a little pod. It’s a really great ingredient, but it also can be kind of expensive. The key is to buy it at your Indian grocery store because it will probably be cheaper to buy there (in a pretty good-sized bag too) than at your local grocery store Protip: get ALL Indian spices from an Indian store. Buying bags of turmeric, cumin, coriander, etc. is so much cheaper and runs about $2.99 a bag as opposed to $6.99 for a tiny jar in the world foods or spices aisle.

Anyway back to the chai! So this time I decided to try something different when making it.

I decided to roast the cardamom! It’s not anything new, I’m sure. it’s just something I haven’t done before. I figured, I dry roast all the spices for garam masala when I make it, so why not the cardamom for the chai?

It worked beautifully and added an extra warm taste…if that makes sense…? I’m glad I gave it a try. I have both cardamom in and out of the pod, but I find myself using the in-pod when I make the chai. Having the skin while you roast helps release the natural oils and it also intensifies the flavor of the cardamom. Roasting it only takes it up to that next level!

Chai for One

•1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
•1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (dry roasted)
•3 cardamom pods (dry roasted)
•1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
•1/2 teaspoon whole black cloves
•1 1/2 cups water
•Milk and sugar to taste
•1-2 teabags of Darjeeling or English black tea (you could also use loose tea leaves)

Method

Start roasting the cardamom in a dry pan over low heat for 5-10 minutes. The cardamom is done when they’re lightly toasted and you can literally smell it. In the mean time heat up the water in a small pan and bring to bring to simmer. Add the tea bags and spice mixture and let it steep and mull for 10-15 minutes. When the water has turned to a beautiful dark color, take it off the heat and pour it through a strainer, into a cup. Add milk and sugar to taste and enjoy!

It’s so easy to make that you won’t need to spend the $4 at your local coffee shop. I find those to be too sweet for my tastes and it doesn’t taste like home, either! Give this a try – I know you’ll love it!

So tell me: do you like teas and coffee from other countries?
What’s your favorite?

 

How To Make Chai

Having the sniffles, stinks.

I woke up this morning feeling as if I’d swallowed a softball. Blech. My nose was pretty stuffy and my sinuses ached. I stayed home from work and did nothing all day.

Then it occurred to me: What is the one thing that could make me feel better? My mom’s Chai.

Well, my mom lives an hour away and I needed the Chai right then and there.

So I made some. And it was amazing. Chai is the traditional spice tea that people in India drink almost every day instead of having coffee. It’s delicious and so easy to make at home.

And now I’ll tell you how to make it at home, too.

My moms Chai is the cure for the common cold. I’m not kidding. It’s spicy so it clears up your sinuses, it’s hot so it soothes and it makes you sleepy so you’ll rest.

If I don’t fall asleep halfway through writing this entry, please applaud me.

Here’s what you’ll need for 1 serving of Chai (I’ll explain each ingredient after):
•Black Cloves
•Cardamom (in the pod)
•Cinnamon stick
•Black peppercorn
•2 tea bags


I use a British tea, often referred to as Darjaleeng, which is what you see above. It’s the most common type of tea used. You can use loose-leaf tea if you want, but tea bags are much easier (and easier to dispose).


There are probably like 5-8 whole black peppercorns in there. Now, this ingredient is totally optional. In fact, my mom told me she only uses peppercorns when she’s sick since the spice and heat from the pepper helps clear the sinuses. So obviously, I used some today.


5-6 pieces of cardamom, in the pod.


Cardamom is a staple ingredient in Chai. If you don’t have any of the other ingredients, this is the one you should have if you want to make Chai, or garam masala. It’s spicy, sweet and smokey. I love it! Now, a lot of people will wonder why you need the pods because if you open the pod, you get cardamom seeds that look black like what I used when I made garam masala. I use the pods because I like the flavor even from the skin so it’s not just the seeds that help create the distinct flavor of Chai.


Cinnamon stick. Powder won’t cut it. This adds another spicy-sweet flavor. A “mulling” spice, if you will.


You need a pinch of whole black cloves. This adds a SUPER intense smokey flavor that I just love.

Let’s make some Chai! Because I’m still surprised I’m awake…

You’ll need a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one, they aren’t expensive to buy. You could grind everything up in a grinder, but I don’t think having a powder works quite as well.


I’ve mentioned before how much I love mine. It was a wonderful gift from my parents and a perfect use for making Chai.


Since I made Chai only for myself, this is 1 1/2 cups of water I put into a sauce pan to heat. Let the water get a little hot before you add in the tea.

So while that’s happening, you can make your Chai mixture.


Break up the cinnamon either with your hands or with the pestle (the “bat” used to crush things)


Place all the ingredients into the mortar and pestle and go to town to crush it all up!



This is what you end up with. I inhaled this mixture about a million times, and that alone made me feel a ton better. All the oils were released and it smelled so wonderful.



When the water is hot (not boiling), add in the tea bags and stir. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes.


It’ll turn a lovely mahogany color as it’s steeping. Soooo pretty!

Add in the Chai mix to the water and tea bags. Let it heat through another 5 minutes or so and stir well. As you do, you’ll really smell the Chai and your nose will grow impatient.


When it’s all done, pour the tea into a measuring cup. This will make for easy pouring into your cup.


Using a strainer, pour the tea into your cup.


The strainer will catch all the tea mixture, but leave the great intense flavor in your cup.


Traditionally, Chai is served with milk and sugar. It’s how I’ve always had it growing up, so having tea just straight black, tastes horrible to me.


You really only want enough milk to turn the Chai into a beautiful chestnut color. You’ll need to add quite a bit of sugar to help sweeten it. If you don’t, it’ll be REALLY strong. I mean, I guess you could leave it that way, but I like it sweet.

So there you go! It’s definitely not hard to make your own Chai and beats what ever they serve you at your local coffee shop because that’s almost always pre-made. That’s definitely not my BAG. Heh heh. Sorry, the puns are thanks to the cold. Although, my sniffles have reduced a ton thanks to this tea. I’m not kidding: cure for the common cold. Well, at least I like to think so.